What do you serve with cabbage rolls?
This is always a puzzle for me. In my version, the stuffing is sausage, rice, and the inner part of the cabbage, so there's already a protein, starch, and vegetable. And yet, it doesn't seem filling enough to be a one dish meal. Based on what I already have, tonight I'll serve them with a green salad and either the rest of the bread from last night (unless I save it for a Saturday morning strata) or roasted potatoes. For next time, in your ideal world, what goes with cabbage rolls?
The Polish Delis around my parts always serve them with mashed potatoes or Pierogies and Bigos
I had sensational cabbage rolls with lamb filling recently at a Hungarian restaurant. I was given a choice of mashed potatoes, rice or tiny dumplings. I went with the dumplings and they were great,
Kashe varnishkes sounds awesome too, but in my house, it tends to be the star, not a side dish.
I think it would be perfectly acceptable to serve a meal in a few courses: simple beet borscht, green salad, cabbage rolls. With a nice crusty bread on the side, it should be ample.
Here's my Grandma Tillie's recipe for cabbage balls. I have adapted it from my grandma's original. It contains a "secret ingredient" that sets off from most. See if you can figure out what that is.
1½ lbs ground beef and/or turkey
¼ C brown rice
½ t salt
1 cabbage, leaves separated
½ C white raisins
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 small dried chilies
Juice of one lemon
½ C plus 2 T brown sugar
2 pieces or 1 t sour salts (citric acid)
1 bay leaf
Core the cabbage and carefully break the leaves off the head of cabbage. Cut the woody triangular core out of each of the cabbage leaves and then cut the biggest cabbage leaves in half.
The cabbage leaves will be firm and brittle so you have to scald them with boiling water to make them pliable. My mother used to put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them. I used a bowl so that they spent more time in the hot water.
I mixed a pound of ground beef with a half-pound of ground turkey and then, with my hands, mixed in the brown rice, salt and ¼ cup white raisins. Using wet hands, form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Remember that you have just gotten up close and personal with raw beef and/or poultry so wash your hands any time you touch something else.
Wrap meatballs in cabbage leaves so that the meatballs are completely covered on all four sides. Fasten them with toothpicks (you will want them strategically placed to hold the cabbage in place). If you need more than one toothpick, that's ok.
Put the cabbage-covered meatballs in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 45 minutes. Carefully remove any “scum” that has risen to the top of the broth.
Add tomatoes, celery, chilies, lemon juice, brown sugar, sour salts, peppercorns, bay leaf and the remainder of raisins.
Cover and bake in 325-degree oven for 2½ –3 hours. Correct sweet-to-sour seasoning to taste.
Photos and more info on www.foodbeest.com. I hope this fits the rules for posting.
Sugar? Chiles? My grandmother would not approve. She made her cabbage rolls with ground beef, rice, and onions wrapped in cabbage leaves, then baked in a tomato sauce. I substitute minced mushrooms for the ground beef, add a little garlic and a bit of the tomato sauce to keep them from drying out. If you use large savoy cabbage leaves that have been blanched just before stuffing you can fold them so you don't need the toothpicks.
The cabbage rolls I had in Austria recently were a spiced ground pork wrapped in cabbage, then wrapped in bacon, cooked in a broth, and served with a side of cabbage They were much larger than the ones I've seen before, and it looked like they overlapped several leaves to make a large roll which they served in slices.
My grandma uses short grain rice and never ground meat. She adds sautéed onions some bacon and dill, lots of fresh dill. Totally different flavour than the meaty ones and the texture is a bit softer due to short grain rice. She has this big process where she bakes the rice to cook it first but I could never be asked, I just use a low simmer but her rice is slightly nicer but my husband never notices so... I made them yesterday and my whole house smells like one big cabbage roll right now - and I love it! Reminds me of my grandma. Might need to make some kasha too....