Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Slovak Stuffed Cabbage

One of many comfort foods from my youth is stuffed cabbage . . . such warm good memories of family dinner with saucy cabbages stuffed with meat and rice and served with a big pile of mashed potatoes.  Mmmm  . . . so good!

There are, of course, many ways to make this dish depending on the culture where the recipe originates.  Due to my Slovak heritage, I am inclined to make halupki . . . Slovak Stuffed Cabbage.

You can cook the stuffed cabbage leaves using a stove top or slow cooker method . . . I do both . . . it depends on what you prefer.

Slovak Stuffed Cabbage

1 (4-Pound) Whole Head Of Cabbage
1/2 Cup Raw Rice
1/2 Cup Water
1 Finely Chopped Medium Onion 
1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef Chuck
1/2 Pound Lean Ground Pork
Salt And Pepper
1 Large Egg
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Sweet Or Hot Paprika
1 Pound Drained (Reserve Juices) Sauerkraut (Rinsing Optional)
1 (26-Ounce) Can Tomato Soup (Or Two Small Cans)
1 (14-Ounce) Can Tomato Sauce
1 (14-Ounce) Can Crushed Tomatoes
8 Ounces Sour Cream

Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.

When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf.

Chop the remaining cabbage and mix with the can of tomato sauce.  Place it in the bottom of a large greased pot or slow cooker.

Rinse rice and cook it in 1/2 cup water until water is abosrbed. Remove from heat and let cool. 

In a large bowl, mix cooled rice, onions, beef, pork, salt and pepper to taste, egg, garlic, paprika, reserved sauerkraut juices and 1/4 cup of the tomato soup, and blend thoroughly.  

Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Wrap the leaf around the meat mixture to make a neat little package.

Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in a large pot or slow cooker. If you have any meat left over, form into meatballs and place on top of rolls.

Top with all the crushed tomatoes, remaining sauerkraut and tomato soup. 

If cooking on the stove top, bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer 3 to 4 hours.  If cooking in a slow cooker cook on high for 3 or 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

When cabbages are cooked, remove from pot.  Remove about a cup of the pan juices and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to comfortable touch with finger stir in the sour cream.  When completely combined stir mixture in with the rest of the pan juices and server over the cabbages.  Excellent with mashed potatoes!

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