Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Ukrainian cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking, practice and traditions related to Ukrainian culture. Many Ukrainian dishes by name and composition have much in common with the dishes of West Slavs. If you find yourself in a Ukrainian house, you will be fascinated by the sincerity of the hosts and the homemade food.
Stuffed cabbage rolls is a common Ukrainian dish, which is also characteristic of the cuisine of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The dish is prepared with fresh cabbage leaves and has a filling of meat, rice or buckwheat, millet or corn cereal, potatoes, beans, mushrooms, onions, carrots and spices. The name of this dish originates from the word "dove", which has a symbolic meaning. Pigeons are considered to be the symbols of spiritual being and the creative forces of the birth of the world. It is difficult to imagine a daily as well as a festive table in Ukraine without cabbage rolls. Corn grits are used as stuffing for cabbage rolls in the Carpathian Region, while in Poltava buckwheat is used. Grits are lightly cooked and mixed with fried onions and pork bacon. On holidays grits are mixed with raw minced meat, spices are added, and people fill out steamed fresh or pickled cabbage leaves with this mixture. Stuffed cabbage rolls are considered ready when the cabbage becomes soft. In spring cabbage leaves can be replaced with young red beet leaves or young grape leaves in the south-west of Ukraine. In the south of Ukraine cabbage rolls are big in size, occupying the whole cabbage leaf, while in the Carpathian Region cabbage leaves are divided into several parts. In the 20-30s of this century people began to stuff cabbage rolls with rice-meat mixture, adding tomato juice, sauce or paste instead of kvass.
In the Carpathian Region and Bukovyna on Christmas Evening, stuffed cabbage rolls are made with pickled cabbage heads ("kryzhavky"). "Leavened" cabbage rolls are stuffed with rice and mushrooms (pickled leaves and rice are cooked equally long). Purely Galician dish is stuffed with grated potatoes and mushrooms.
Cabbage rolls can have not only meat stuffing. There are many recipes of "vegetarian" rolls. They are recommended not only for those who are trying to be slim and fit and leading a healthy way of life. They can be used as an excellent complement to meat dishes – burgers or steaks, or as a light dinner. Nowadays people prepare stuffed rolls with different kind of cabbage.
Stuffed cabbage rolls with Chinese cabbage
A variety of vegetables can be used as filling for the cabbage rolls: carrots, eggplant, onions, celery and bell peppers, so you can choose something that will suit your taste.
The basic principle of cooking is the same. The only difference is that cabbage is very tender, so it should not be boiled. Just cut the hard part. As a spice, it will be appropriate to use basil, black pepper and thyme.
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of white rice
- 8 cabbage leaves
- 1 pound of beef mince
- 1/4 cup of chopped onion
- 1 egg, slightly whipped
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can of condensed tomato soup
- 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans of tomato juice
- 1/3 cup of ketchup.
- Cook cabbage in boiling water until its leaves start falling off from the head. Pick out 14-16 large leaves for rolls and set aside the remaining cabbage.
- In a bowl, mix together rice, beef, onion, sauce, salt, pepper and 1\4 cup of soup. Put 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Fold in sides, then roll up the leaves to completely enclose the meat.
- Put the leftover cabbage leaves on the bottom of a Dutch oven. Mix the remaining soup and water together, pour the mixture over the cabbage. Stack the cabbage rolls. Add some sauce on top. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid. Put the Dutch oven with cabbage rolls into the oven. Reduce the heat when it starts boiling. Simmer for 1 or 1 and ½ hours until rolls are tender.
- Remove the rolls and cabbage from the oven. The sauce may be thickened by boiling over high heat. Sprinkle sauce over the rolls and cabbage and serve.