THOR’S CABBAGE ROLLS
8 large cabbage leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed tomato soup
Cook cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for a few minutes to soften, th
en drain onto paper towel. In bowl, combine beef, rice, onion flakes, egg, and salt. Add 4 tablespoons of soup. Lay out cabbage leaves and divide meat mixture onto each one. Roll leaves and secure with toothpicks. Place cabbage rolls in frying pan; pour remaining soup over all. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Stir often, spooning soup over rolls.
We mostly knew of cabbage rolls as a traditionally Polish recipe; however, they seem to be a familiar dish in any country that had both cabbages and meat.
The short ingredient list is disturbingly bland. Onion flakes and tomato soup aren’t very strong spices.
The hardest part is carefully peeling off the largest leaves possible. Fresh cabbage leaves split and tear easily.
We didn’t have a large pot clean to boil the leaves, so they had to be done one at a time. This is tedious and boring, so save yourself some time by doing the dishes before cooking.
The filling ingredients (all but the rice) were put in a bowl and mushed together.
I added the rice last, because I timed things a little badly and it needed to cook a while longer.
A healthy scoop of meat filling goes into each cabbage leaf.
Cooked cabbage leaves are much more pliable than fresh ones, and roll around the filling easily. The toothpicks hold everything in place, but the rolls could probably be made without them.
All the uncooked cabbage rolls managed to fit in one skillet, somewhat tightly.
I was rather worried about the small amount of liquid in this step — I’m supposed to spoon the sauce over all the cabbage rolls, yet there is only about 2/3 of a can left after using some for the filling.
While the rolls steam, they lose enough water that the soup-sauce becomes thinner and can actually be spooned over everything.
The cabbage rolls look sturdy and pretty, although I’m still worried about that “sauce.” I’ve never had particularly good results from condensed tomato soup.
Using turkey instead of beef makes this a little bit dry, and there is no flavor in the tomato soup (or other ingredients) that can take up the slack. I don’t think it would have been vastly improved with ground beef instead, though. Thor’s cabbage rolls were bland and unfortunate, although they did inspire me to look around for better recipes. I’m a fan of any food which manages to neatly combine starch, protein, and vegetables, and makes my kids go “mmmmm!”