With Christmas around the corner, I wanted to share one of my ultimate favourite Ukrainian Christmas comfort food recipes – the best cabbage rolls! Although I am Ukrainian and adore Ukrainian food, these are not your typical traditional Ukrainian cabbage rolls. These are what my family likes to call, “Scottish Cabbage Rolls.” You can read the story behind how these rice and ground beef stuffed cabbage rolls came to be in Clay Pot magazine!
Traditional Ukrainian cabbage rolls usually contain only rice, some onion and sometimes bits of bacon, minus the tomato sauce. These cabbage rolls are of the hearty, meaty variety and different in that they are stuffed with ground beef, rice, mushrooms and smothered in a tomato sauce. And this is about as far from a traditional Ukrainian Christmas eve dinner as you can get (which consists of 12 meatless dishes). Not sure how proud this would have made Baba, but I just can’t help but prefer these cabbage rolls over the boring and plain rice filled ones!
But because they are so much work, we only got them for special holiday dinners when I was a kid. Hence the reason I don’t make them very often these days either. I’m not going to lie to you or make these sound like my typical quick and healthy dish- home made cabbage rolls are not a quick holiday side dish! In fact, they are labour intensive. But on the bright side, these are the best stuffed cabbage rolls I have eaten and I can guarantee you that it’s worth the time investment!
And by the way, you can go ahead and make them in advance (when you have a little more time on your hands), as they last a very long time in the freezer. I am testament to that fact, as I just ate some that I found in the freezer from October 2015 . Seriously. Yes, I know I probably shouldn’t eat stuff that old, but hey, it’s cabbage rolls! And they tasted fantastic!
** Disclaimer: Clay Pot Editor changed the name of the story from “Liver and Other Food Atrocities” to “Edie K’s Many Food Atocities”
Scottish Cabbage Rolls
Author: Edith Konoplenko (Terri’s Mom)
1 large cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
4 cups of brown rice
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup sliced mushroom (can substitute canned )
1 cup ketchup (add additional to taste)
2 (10 oz.) cans condensed tomato soup
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and spray a large casserole dish or roaster pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cook cabbage in microwave for 10 minutes, and then cool. Turn and return to microwave and cook for another 10 minutes (Mom started to use this method when she got a microwave in the 1980’s because it’s much faster)
- Remove core from cabbage and carefully remove cabbage leaves. Return to microwave for another 5 minutes if the leaves aren’t flexible enough and they don’t come off easily – be careful, as they will tear.
- Brown ground beef with chopped onion on stove top. Add mushrooms when beef is nearly done. Cook until meat is browned and onions and mushrooms are soft
- Cook rice until done.
- Mix ground beef mixture, rice and ketchup together in large bowl. Add additional ketchup to your liking.
- Roll about a tablespoon of the filling up in the cabbage roll by (this amount will depend on the size of each cabbage leaf) This video demonstrates the basic technique of rolling a cabbage roll (although I don’t use the toothpick – I simply place that side down in the pan to keep the roll together): Video: How to roll a cabbage roll
- Place gently in prepared pan and pour tomato soup over the cabbage rolls
- Bake in oven for about 2 hours or until cabbage is tender. Serve warm
NOTE: You can slow cook these for 6 hours on low in your crock put as well.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 3 hours