I bought my kids the Laptop Lunch Box system at our local grocery store. I was perusing the web looking for more fun ideas on what to pack the kids for lunch in these fun colorful boxes and found JustBento.com, which lead me to making Cabbage Rolls. I knew this would be a time-consuming recipe and wanted to research a few recipes before finally cooking. I choose the recipe at Smitten Kitchen.
For some reason, while making this recipe I felt like it was a lot of work. In reality, it is not the most complicated or time-consuming recipe I have ever made. I am not certain why I felt like that, perhaps I was anxious about the cabbage being able to wrap around the meat or I was confused about not browning the meat or pre-cooking the rice. Regardless, I will make again in the fall.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Napa Cabbage (Not sure this was the best cabbage to use, not very big leaves for wrapping)
1 pound Ground Turkey burger
Pepper and Salt to taste
1 small onion diced
1 c shredded carrots
1 tsp Celery Seed
2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper puree
1/2 c of UNCOOKED brown rice
32 oz can Roma Tomatoes
PER Smitten Kitchen, Core the cabbage and place in bowl. Cover with clean boiling water and let the cabbage soak. Meanwhile, saute the onions and carrots till tender. Add salt and pepper if desired. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a bowl, add raw ground meat, rice, red pepper puree. Add salt and pepper if desired. Add carrots and onions and mix well.
Drain the cabbage and remove part of the chunky stem. Heat tomatoes and allow to simmer in same pan you cooked the carrots. Place a spoonful of meat mixture on leaf and wrap as best as you can without tearing the leaf or overstuffing. Once all wrapped place rolls carefully into simmering tomato sauce and place lid over the pan. Simmer for about 45 minutes. I had too many (of course!) to fit in my pan so I also steamed a few. The steamed rolls tasted fine, but needed to cook in sauce for more flavor. I even had leftover meat mixture so when we were done eating I made them into meatballs and cooked in leftover tomatoes and simmered with lid on to make sure the rice would soften. This made a ton of food, about 18 rolls and 18 meatballs.
Several of the recipes I read said this freezes really well, but I am not sure. I ate some leftovers and removed the cabbage off. I did not like the texture. Perhaps, I should try them cold or reheating in the oven. The recipe has been requested to be a regular at our house. I would like to try a teriyaki version. Do you have a favorite non-traditional stuffed cabbage roll recipe? Let me know. I would love to try it.