Let's see, we've done my Baba's borscht (which, honestly, you should make - calling it "beet soup" does it a disservice, especially when the beet slivers are white when done), but we still have several left to do:
- Piroshki (meat pies, baked)
- Piroshki (potato pies, fried)
- Haluski (helushki?)
- Pork Stew (Goulash)
...and Cabbage Rolls (aka "pigs in a blanket", aka "heh-lute-see", which according to Wikipedia is probably spelled Holubtsi but I'm not positive of.)
Basically it's just beef, rice & onions wrapped in a cabbage leaf, fried in a tiny bit of oil, then baked with a sour cream & tomato sauce. So, it does count as baking! *laugh* I spent the better half of a day working with Baba on this, taking her recipe and adding footnotes.
And yes, it tastes much better than that description. Think spiced meat served with a pink sauce, and you're not far off.
Ingredients for the Cabbage Rolls themselves:
3 lb chuck meat (lean), OR 2 lb chuck meat (lean) and 1 pound boneless country ribs
1 1/2 cup rice, cooked as it directs
3 medium onions, diced and chopped
6+ tbl corn oil
5 tbl dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 heads cabbage
Ingredients for the sauce:
15 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz can tomato sauce
10.5 oz beef buillion (we use the Campbell's double strength, but you can also use regular beef broth)
8 oz sour cream
Grinder (coarse blade)
Prepping the filling:
Take your meat and boil it in water, at least enough to cover. Save 1/2 cup broth. You can do either all beef, or beef and pork - she normally does beef & pork, but not everybody likes pork.
Take the cooked meat and grind on the coarse setting. Yes, you need to cook it then grind it - the texture is totally different if you do it the other way around.
Prepare the 1.5 cups rice as per package directions.
Take the 3 onions, dice and simmer over medium heat with 2-3 tbl oil until clarified.
Now, mix all together - the ground-up & cooked meat, rice, 1/2 cup broth, dried parsley, onions, and salt & pepper to taste. You definitely want this to taste good on its own, so don't be stingy with the pepper.
Prepping the rolls:
Take head of cabbage, score the base so that the leaves will be able to come off. Put in a pot bigger than needed to boil the cabbage. Add water, then heat to boiling. Turn off heat after it boils 30 seconds - we are trying to wilt the leaves and make them pliable. Don't use the whole cabbage - the inner leaves are just too small to hold enough meat.
Making the rolls:
Pull off the outer-most leaves and throw away.
Remove one leaf at a time. Cut away as much of the "vein" as possible on the leaves, so that they can be easily folded. Put 1-2 heaping serving spoon (1.25-2 oz total) of meat in the middle, then fold the sides in, overlapping, then fold over the "top" of the leaf, then fold over the base of the leaf. You now should have a small package. Cook this in 2-3 tbl oil on both sides until GBD (golden-brown and delicious), then set aside. At this point you can freeze them.
Making the sauce:
In a pot, add the tomato sauce, sour cream, beef bullion, 1-2 tsp black pepper and a SMALL pinch of salt (the beef bullion is a salt lick; if you go the low sodium route, you'll wind up having to add salt at the end. Sorry, this isn't healthy.) Heat on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds then take off heat.
Putting it all together:
Take a casserole dish (the deeper the better - we use an old corningware dish about 8 inches deep), and layer the rolls inside, open-side up. You want room between them for the sauce - don't just cram them together. I say open-side up because it's more forgiving when you're pulling them out, but be careful when pouring the sauce lest they open. Pour the sauce over until they're almost completely covered. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes - you want it to be bubbly. Use a cooking spoon to pull out 2-3 rolls per person, pouring over sauce as desired. You can either cut it up and eat it, or (for those that don't like cabbage) remove the leaves and pour the sauce over the meat. Enjoy!