Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 13, 2011

Thor’s Cabbage Rolls

This week’s recipe was discovered by Buzz via Retrospace Zeta, originally from cryptofwrestling.


Serves 4

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!”



  1. Of course, this is timely because of the Thor movie out now, but it also raises a question for me: Does anybody actually read The Mighty Thor? I’ve known avid readers of The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Invincible Ironman, The Uncanny X-Men, The Silver Surfer, The Avengers, and Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts. But the closest I’ve come to meeting somebody who actually read Thor was seeing someone casually flipping through The Death of Odin in a comic book store. Thor seems to be the hanger-on* of the Marvel Universe.

    * I considered writing “red-headed step-child,” but I don’t care for that expression, for several reasons: I actually really like red hair; I think it’s very insensitive to step-children; and for some reason, Marvel’s Thor doesn’t even have red hair. (There was an ealier Kirby/Simon D.C. villain Thor, who did have the storm god’s proper flaming locks, however.)

    • Many many moons ago, in the 70’s, I was a Marvel comics fanatic. I loved the Fantastic Four and X-Men above all, but I had a special love for Thor. Not only was he hot with his long blond hair, but his little strip was really different from the rest of the Marvel universe. There was, also, sometimes a short story about Norse mythology tacked on after the main story. I thought the artwork was beautiful and the mythology fascinating. Those were the days! Comics were 12 cents. Good times!…anyway, I came here to say things must be tough for the Thunder God if he’s reduced to shilling frickin’ cabbage rolls, lol! And now I want cabbage rolls. There are a few different ways to make them, with sausage instead of burger, with paprika or tabasco sauce in the tomato sauce. can always layer the stuff and make it a casserole if you don’t want to do all the work….love this site, I really enjoy it!!!!

    • Thor was a red-head in the original myths, IIRC.

  2. I’m sure you’re right: you could find a way better cabbage roll recipe than Thor’s.

    BTW, saw this recipe on the “Awful Library Books” blog and thought of you:

    –one of those “Is it an appetizer, or dessert, or what?” dishes.

  3. […] thought of how they might taste and sought to see if anyone cooked them. Indeed one lady did on her blog but boy, she didn’t like them very much. She used turkey meat instead of beef and she said […]

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