WINTER COMFORT FOODS – STUFFED CABBAGE

 

Comfort Food is Food that warms the body and the soul.  It makes you feel good and satisfied after eating it.  I think Comfort Food is different for different cultures and different people but there are variations within the dishes that we call ‘Comfort Food’.  The differences are not so much in the main ingredients but in the preparation techniques and the seasonings used.

 

There are also variations in Winter Weather throughout the world and there are not many days that we can call Winter Weather in Sunny Southern California but this year , January is definitely Winter and Cold it is! Wet and Cold that is!  Not complaining as we need the rain and cold can be fun for a little while, but all that aside, what do you eat when it is cold.  Our normal Salads and Vegies and light meals don’t work when the weather is cold.  We have to resort to old ‘Standbys from Childhood and our Mother’s favorites.  One of these in our family is Stuffed Cabbage.  Put together Green Cabbage, Seasoned Ground Beef and Tomatoes in a Sweet and Sour Sauce and serve with rice or pasta and you have a delicious bone warming meal.

 

So this is what I did the other night.  I made Stuffed Cabbage but cheated a little bit as I had preformed Meatballs in the freezer.  Having raised five sons I have a difficult time cooking small quantities of food for the 2 of us who make up our household now, so I usually make large quantities and freeze what we don’t eat  for future use.  The Meatballs were frozen in a single layer so as to make it easy to remove them and use them as needed.  If I didn’t have the Meatballs I would have made the complete recipe from scratch as per the directions in the recipe itself.  http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/stuffed-cabbage/       Here are the step by step directions and photos for preparing this delicious and ‘heart warming’ dish.

 

First of all make sure you have all the ingredients.  If you have to shop for some of them, check your staples and seasonings before going to the market.

 

In addition to Ground Beef (or Chicken or Turkey) you will also need Tomato Sauce, Lemons, Brown Sugar and Salt and Pepper.  Instead of Tomato Sauce as per the recipe, I used ground Tomatoes which have much more flavor and body.  Shown below is one of my favorite tomato products.

 

 

 

If you don’t use the whole can place the leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate until needed.  They should keep up until a week depending on how cold your refrigerator is.

           Measured Tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to roll the meat in the Cabbage Leaves you will have to soften them.  The best way to do this is to:

1 – Core the Cabbage and remove any bad outer leaves.

2 – Bring a large pot of water (shown belown) to the boiling.  Add the whole head of Cabbage, turn the heat down to simmer  and leave the cabbage in the simmering water for about 5 minutes or until the outer leaves soften enough to be able to roll them.

 

 

 

Large Pot to Soften Cabbage Leaves

 

 

 

3 – Remove the Cabbage from the hot water (I use a colander for this) and remove as many leaves as have softened or as many as you will need if the whole head has softened.

4 – If need be, return the head to the simmering water and remove as needed.

5 – Place the leaves on a cutting board and cut out the hard part that was closest to the core.

6 – Place a scoop of meat on each leaf and wrap the leaf around the meat mixture.  Use clean Kitchen String to tie the rolls so they don’t fall apart in the cooking process.

 

 

Coarsely slice some of the remaining cabbage and place in the bottom of the vessel you are going to cook the Cabbage Rolls in.  This will serve as a bed for the rolls.  Next place the rolls on top of the sliced cabbage and then pour the sauce over all.

 

Cooking the Cabbage Rolls

 

 

Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then turn the heat down to medium.  Cook for about 45 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the rolls.  Use Kitchen Shears to cut and remove the string before the next step.

 

 

  String Removed

 

I like to add an additional Vegetable and in this case I added sliced Carrots.  They only need to cook for about 5 minutes or until they are barely fork tender.  The residual heat will continue to cook them once the vessel is removed from the heat.  If you use peas or corn, the cooking time will be shorter.

 

 Carrots Added

 

 

 

Serve with Rice, Pasta or Couscous.  This is a delicious heart-warming and body warming dish that is perfect for winter weather.  Vegans can also make by using a Barley or Rice in place of meat in the filling.

 

Served with Couscous and Mushrooms.

 

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