New Castle News

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October 13, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Oh, what you can do with cabbage!

NEW CASTLE — How many times have we heard, “Eat those veggies?”

And how many times have you said those words to your kids?

It’s not always easy to persuade someone to try broccoli or a Brussels sprout if there’s nothing tempting about either one in the first place.

But with a little cooking magic and creativity, vegetables can be a part of casseroles, prepared in interesting ways and dressed up so even the fussiest eater may take a second chance at it.

Speaking of the cabbage family, recently I had an opportunity to watch as members of Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church made cabbage rolls for fundraising. What’s not to like about cooked cabbage, stuffed with meat and rice, rolled up, topped with sauce and baked?

I didn’t ask for the exact recipe but watched as the workers went about their task — each one with a job to do.

I kept an old cookbook published by employees of the former Big Wheel Inc., and I knew exactly where to find the recipe I’ve used many times. It was provided by a woman who was an executive secretary.

If you have a tried-and-true recipe using harvest veggies — or others — it is always welcome at Culinary Conversation.

Today, we also offer a quick casserole when time is limited. It has the same wonderful flavors as individual cabbage rolls but can be prepared for baking in 20 minutes or less. Sounds like a plan.

Cabbage Rolls

  • 2-lb. head cabbage (loose, not solid, if possible)
  • Large can tomato sauce mixed with 2 tbsps. sugar and 1⁄2 cup water or 11⁄2 qts. tomato juice with the sugar and 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 11⁄2 cups cooked rice or barley

Mix together 1⁄2 medium onion, chopped, 2 tsps. salt and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper with 1⁄4 cup of the tomato mix.

Cut core out of cabbage head. Separate the leaves. Steam the cabbage leaves about 2 minutes or long enough to make them flexible, but not enough to be cooked. Drain. Place enough of the meat mixture on each leaf so that the leaf can be folded over the meat mixture and rolled up; tuck in ends. Place each roll, lapped side down in baking dish or Dutch oven. Pour over sauce mixture. Bake 1 hour at 350. Or cook in heavy Dutch oven on top of stove, bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour.

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