Sunday, September 24, 2006


Cabbage Rolls //get the biggest cabbage money can buy. //boil it whole until it turns dark green. //meanwhile cook rice. //meanwhile fry minced mushrooms, a green pepper, minced onions with salt and pepper, a touch of rosemary, and a touch of paprika. resist the temptation to add italian spices like basil or oregano. for this is a POLISH meal. //frying some minced bacon is optional. it does add some flavour, but then you've gone and killed a gentle animal for your dinner. these are fine without meat. never ever make a cabbage roll using ground beef. //remove the cabbage from the boiling water and when its cool enough very carefull peel the leaves off. getting 12 leaves out of 1 cabbage is great. I asked JRW to put on some cabbage roll making music while I cooked these. fortunately we DO own that LP of Russian Classics that the kids are so crazy about. //fill each leaf with rice, the mushroom & onion mixture and some more salt and pepper. //lightly oil a casserole dish and add maybe a quarter cup of tomato sauce to the bottom. nestle the little cabbage rolls together in the dish. pour more tomato sauce overtop of them until they are just covered. //bake at about 375 for half an hour or so. KJJ: Cabbage rolls are delicious and what I usually cook at Christmas or when I have a busy week and want to prepare some dinners in advance. The problem is, I love them so much I gobble them down and they dont usually last too long. JRW had never had them before I cooked them in Canada for him. Its a regional thing. I miss the little ethnic mom'n'pop cafes that you usually find in a big city, Eastern European, Greek, Middle Eastern hole'n'the walls that will like sell you tobacco and kalamata olives and also take any bets you might like to place on the horse races. Oh Jesus Christ I forgot to mention the Lemon Meringue pie that JRW brought home for me. This is all I want in life. Lemon Meringue pie. But back to the cabbage rolls. The variety food rolled into cabbage around the world is simply stunning. I was aware of the asian variety (delicious but usually heavy on the pork) but until just now, did not know there is a Finnish variety. I must attempt these. The future of middle earth depends on it. They are called "Kaalikaaryleet". I do not know what measurement a "dl" is. I am also not sure what "cabbage cooking liquid" is?


(for four - five persons)

- 1 large white cabbage - water, salt 1 tsp/1 l Filling: - 400 g of lean minced pork or beef - 1 onion - 1 dl cabbage cooking liquid - 2 dl chopped cabbage
- 2 dl boiled rice - 1 tsp salt - 1/4 tsp white pepper - 1 tsp marjoram Topping: - 1-2 tblsp syrup - butter or margarine - Cabbage cooking water for basting Gravy: - 3 dl pan juice - 2 tblsp flour - a little cream

Cut the stalk off the cabbage and cook the cabbage in salted water until the leaves are soft. You can carefully loosen the outer leaves as they soften. Lift the cooked cabbage onto a large plate to drain. Loosen the leaves one by one and chop the small inner leaves for the filling.

Finely chop the onion and fry in small amount of oil until translucent but not brown. Combine the meat, rice, chopped cabbage and seasonings into a smooth mixture. If the mixture is too thick, add some more of the cabbage cooking water.

Flatten the cabbage leaves. Lift a good tablespoonful of filling onto the leaf and roll it up tucking the edges round the mixture.

Place the rolls side by side in a baking dish, pour syrup and a little fat over them.

Bake the rolls for 1 hour at 200 °C. Half way turn the rolls over and baste them every now and then with the cabbage water.

Strain the pan juices and thicken with flour mixed with water. Add a little cream.

Serve the cabbage rolls with boiled potatoes and lingonberry purée.


Oh yes, lingonberry puree. I have cans and cans of that in my pantry. No problemo. Here's a link to some Chinese cabbage rolls that look very very pretty. And finally, I found a recipe for Mexican cabbage rolls. JRW: Yeah, so sometimes my job is to set the mood of the kitchen. I didn't have any Polish music, so I busted out 'Volga Boatmen'. It turned the affair into a bit of a heavy bummer, not the mood for a good cabbage roll dinner, unless you are in a gulag or something. So, I think I switched it to Black Sabbath, which is perfect for ANYTHING ( don't argue with me, it is). If we do the Finnish version, I'll play some Emperor or Mayhem or something.