Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Un-Stuffed (Deconstructed) Cabbage Rolls

Un-Stuffed (Deconstructed) Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls were on my mother's regular meal rotation when I was a kid. And I loved them. Even the cabbage part. As a very young woman on my own, I kept a crazy schedule with a full time job and grad school at night. No time to cook much and mostly what was in my fridge was yogurt. Except on those lovely evenings when I'd get home late, open the fridge and find that my mother had dropped by during the day and left me a pot of her homemade cabbage rolls. She was such a good mommy.

Un-Stuffed (Deconstructed) Cabbage Rolls
My mother was also my first cooking teacher and yes, the holishkes (Jewish cabbage rolls) was on the lesson plan. And I've made them a few times over the years. But the truth is that I kind of don't like the whole process. Many a head of cabbage, bought for the purpose of making this recipe, ended up being shredded for coleslaw instead.

Over the weekend, though, a head of cabbage went to better use when I made my friend Carla's Haluski recipe. So good! But while I was stirring the cabbage, a light bulb went on over my head. Why don't I just deconstruct my beloved cabbage rolls? All the exact same ingredients, all the same flavors but without the tedium. I'll admit the final result isn't as pretty as a neatly tucked roll but I promise you it tastes exactly the same. And this recipe is now going into my regular meal rotation. Enjoy!

Un-Stuffed (Deconstructed) Cabbage Rolls
by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ingredients (4 Servings)
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 Onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 5 oz. Tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  • 1 Small head green cabbage, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Un-Stuffed (Deconstructed) Cabbage Rolls
In a large saute pan, brown the ground beef, season to taste and set aside.

In a large pot, add the oil and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic for a few seconds then stir in the tomato paste. Whisk in the chicken stock and add the chopped cabbage. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 45 minutes.

Stir in the cooked beef, cover and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If you'd like a thicker sauce, make a slurry by whisking together a tablespoon of flour and a bit of water and stirring it into the tomato sauce.

Serve over rice, for a traditional cabbage roll flavor or even potatoes or noodles.

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  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the haluski! I'm always looking for new cabbage recipes since there's no such thing as "a small head of cabbage" (seriously, one head of cabbage makes 4-5 meals for little ol' me). Since I'm too lazy/don't have time to make proper stuffed cabbage, this is a great compromise.

  2. Anita, my mom made stuffed cabbage when we were growing up too. She called it by another yiddish name - which I won't even attempt to try to spell! But it was so good mom passed away so I haven't had it in a long time. But I will definitely try your recipe since it sounds so similar. Thanks in advance for the happy memories!

  3. I have wanted to make more cabbage rolls recently but like you, I do not want to use up an entire afternoon making a small baking dish full - I could whip this up in no time and still have time to do other thing..........Holli and I will make this on the weekend! Sharing and pinning!

  4. I grew up with stuffed cabbage (my high school graduation party had stuffed cabbage instead of the 'normal' sloppy joes). This deconstructed version looks a lot tastier to me than the traditional cabbage rolls.


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