9-7: Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage is probably my least favorite cruciferous vegetable. Although cabbage is present in most Chinese food dishes and it doesn’t bother me in that format, however, just the thought of eating plain cabbage is not very appetizing to me. The meatloaf-like mixture inside 9-7: Cabbage Rolls was the most edible part of the dish.  I like that they served it with a blurred out Heineken.

Anything that involves a stuffing and rolling procedure is usually best done in a big batch because they are a pain to put together.

This recipe gave me a chance to work with cabbage, a vegetable I don’t cook very often. I had to go buy a head along with sour cream.

You can see Jamie’s handwriting on the bag of ground beef. She put this bag aside specifically for this recipe. It was also convenient because she wrote the ingredients needed on the outside. This recipe is labelled as “Inexpensive“, but “Fairly Hard” and those descriptors are accurate.

The first step is to cook the rice according to the package directions. I put the rice and water in the pot and turned up the heat.

Jamie taught me this technique. The towel absorbs some of the moisture from the steam and the rice comes out with a fluffy texture.

Editor’s note: Read more about it here: 2-37: Chicken-Salami-Rice Salad

I started heating some water in the largest pot I have and then put the cabbage in leaf side down to cook the leaves.

The outer leaves came off super easily once the cabbage cooked for just a minute or two.

It’s time to make the ground beef and rice stuffing. You can’t see the reserved cabbage liquid, but it’s in there. Mix this all together.

The filling stuck together well enough that it wasn’t too hard to stuff the rolls. Toothpicks held the cabbage leaves together pretty well.

We’re finally ready to cook the cabbage rolls. Brown the cabbage rolls on all sides in a skillet lined with melted butter.

The outside of the rolls are now golden brown and delicious. It is time to scrape the pan and and get ready to steam the rolls.

After pouring in some of the reserved cooking liquid, I scraped the pan drippings up which will add flavor to the rolls during steaming.

Look at the steam coming off the pan. The cabbage rolls will steam in this pan for about 30 minutes so the filling inside will cook through.

At this point, I put the cover on the pan and checked on the rolls every 10 minutes. I added a little more liquid when it got low.

I thought the directions were awfully specific. I put the pan drippings in the measuring cup and then added beef broth to measure exactly 1.25 cups. This beefy broth will become the base of the gravy.

To start the gravy, I poured the broth into a small saucepan.

On this step, I disagreed with the recipe. I usually make a thickening slurry with cornstarch, not flour, as suggested in this recipe.

I substituted 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk for the 1 cup cream asked for in the recipe. The gravy is almost done at this point.

Presenting….a boring cabbage roll with gravy! I tried to artistically paint the gravy on top, but looking back I should have dressed the plate up with some garnish. A little lettuce or some parsley sprigs. The browned cabbage did actually taste pretty good, but the non browned cabbage inside the roll was not as appetizing. After eating half of the wrapper, the inside stuffing fell out so I ate the rest with a spoon instead of putting the roll back together. The stuffing was my favorite part and when I ate the other rolls I ate them the same way.