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Monday, February 18, 2013

Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

While I was preparing this recipe, I was immediately transported to some 6 or 7 years ago when I was still renting a house with college friends. We would take turns preparing our weekly dinner menu and cooking  it. This dish is one of our favorites from one of my housemate's menu. It was a very comforting saucy dish so fitting to serve during a cold, rainy night at home. Even the husband had fond memories of this dish (we were already together then) as well.

Unfortunately, my version didn't taste anywhere near my housemate's version (hello Girl! Ngayo ko recipe mo, please!) and it disappointed my husband a bit. His verdict: stuffing was bland (because I deliberately put just a mere pinch of salt in it. I thought the hint of paprika will save me because he likes spicy things but no, it didn't).

My husband is my #1 culinary fan. So his disappointment is my disappointment. But the good thing about cooking is you can just keep on trying till you get the perfect recipe. And as this is a very flexible recipe (you can play with the stuffing - if you want it healthier you can use tofu or ground chicken breast), I am sure my household will not get tired of this even if I include it in our weekly menu.

But moving on to the recipe:

What I used:

1 head of large cabbage, each leaf taken off the stalk

about 200g of lean ground pork
1 small carrot, diced
1 med onion, chopped finely
chopped spring onions
A sprig of flat parsley, chopped
olive oil for sauteeing

about a cup of Marinara Sauce, click here for recipe***

***(this can be substituted by 1 piece of tomato chopped and sauteed over garlic and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, dilute with 1/4 cup water)

How I did it:

1. Gently scrape off the hard part on each cabbage leaf.
2. Steam each of the leaf for about 1-2 mins (just so they can be easily rolled) and set aside.
3. Mix the carrots, onions, parsley, a pinch of pepper, paprika and salt with the ground meat.
4. Heat oil and dump in the meat mixture and saute till slight browned. Set aside to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
5. When the meat has cooled off, scoop about 1 tablespoon of it on each leaf and wrap (just like how you'd wrap spring rolls). Secure the center with a toothpick to prevent the leaf from breaking when you dump it unto the sauce.
6. Reheat the marinara sauce and gently place each of the cabbage rolls unto the sauce. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes depending on how you'd like your leaf to cook. You can also opt to steam the leaves instead and pour the reheated sauce unto it before serving. Whatever works best for you.
7. Serve with hot steaming rice and you're good to go!

This recipe was able to feed 6 hungry stomachs. The roll alone is very filling already so I ate mine with just a few spoonfuls of rice (I think maybe 3). The hubby and the little miss loved it with a lot of sauce so I had to reheat more. I think it would have been better if I added a few spoonfuls of tomato paste unto the meat when I sauteed it. I will try that next time. Even if my household complained of how bland the roll turned out to be, they were still able to clean their respective plates up. Still a happy ending for me, come to think of it.

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