Hey Cabbage, Go Stuff It!

28 Sep

We were watching tv the other day, and I looked over a john and just said “Stuffed Cabbage”. He looked over at me. We locked eyes. No words needed to be exchanged. We both knew. It was happening.

And that is how we get to today’s post: Stuffed Cabbage in homemade tomato sauce from { Smitten Kitchen }

Fresh Tomato Sauce – Smitten Kitchen

Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage – Smitten Kitchen

This is another really great site to get inspiration from. I can lose myself here for hours thinking every 5 minutes or so “YES I’m going to make that!” The recipes are really easy to follow, and have all been really wonderful.

I’ve never made stuffed cabbage before, and I’m not sure why, because I love stuffed cabbage. Love it. Now I went back and forth between which type to go for: the full savory, or the savory/sweet (which usually includes raisins and a hint of cinnamon). I went with the full savory persuasion since, well that’s what I found, but I’d like to explore the other type eventually. But first thing’s first: making the tomato sauce in which to cook das cabbage rolls.

I’ve read lots of recipes using fresh tomatoes and peeling them (or you can use canned tomatoes, which are pre-skinned…guess which EASIER type of tomato I’ve always gone with), and since ’tis the season of tomatoes, I took the plunge and peeled them myself.

1. Cut X’s on the Bottom of the tomatoes
2. Blanche in boiling water for 10 seconds(ish), then place into an ice bath to stop the cooking
3. Let Cool
4. Peel those skins off!

Skinning tomatoes is slimy and there is just something that feels vulgar about it. It also took longer than I thought (keep in mind it was my first time MY FIRST TIME), so while I’m on Quarter-Life Retirement I will be peeling guy own tomatoes. Once I get a job, it’s back to’a the cans. And that’s what I have to say about that.

The rest of the sauce recipe is super easy, and tasty! Sauté your mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery, with the addition of garlic) for about 10 minutes to get a nice caramel-y flavor, add the tomatoes, mash them up a bit, simmer for 45 minutes. While this was simmering, I began the meat stuffing.

Meat. Grated Veggies. Rice (I used brown). Tomato Paste.

Also I prepped the cabbage: take the core out, pour boiling water over it and let sit for 10 minutes.

Have you heard a better name than “Meat Stuffing?” Neither have I…

Well well well, I don’t know if I didn’t let the cabbage sit long enough in the water, but sweet jesus it was hard to peel the leaves and keep them intact. It was even HARDER to actually roll these fellas since the leaves kept snapping and were not pliable. What the cuss. I did my best, and even tried putting the cabbage under hot water again…nothing seemed to work.

I can feel the frustration rising just looking at these pictures

I kind of patched together pieces of cabbage leaves around the meat, and set them into the pot of sauce (taking out half the sauce and the topping the cabbage with the sauce so each piece was covered).

…stupid leaf rolling

Let these simmer covered for about 45 minutes and POW you got yourself some stuffed cabbage rolls! I was so surprised how well these turned out considering how poorly I wrapped them. Funny story: at 45 minutes the rice wasn’t quite cooked through, but I was STARVING so I still ate 2 of them. Two, overly crunchy, bland rolls. Oh, did I forget to mention I didn’t season these at all? Because I didn’t. Normally when it comes to seasoning I’m on top of it, but since I couldn’t taste the RAW meat filling, I was afraid to add too much salt, so I just added a pinch. It should have been a strong whisper of salt. Even with undercooked rice and no salt, they were still REALLY great. But not to worry, I added some salt to the pot and let them cook about 25 minutes longer, so the rice is al dente, and the salt…well, it still needs more salt, but that’s a quick fix for each individual taste.

You’re right, it needs a side of mashed potatoes…topped with cheese

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