When I was a girl, Nana grew cabbage in the garden and this was one of the recipes she made to use the cabbage. I made it exactly as the recipe called and I think this recipe is one of the best renditions of hers that I have ever done. In a moment I was taken back to her kitchen table where she was bent over folding together the rolls and singing along to the radio.
The cabbage roll recipe is hamburger and rice with spices and an ingredient not found in all recipes for this old fashioned main dish and when it is, often it is overwhelming. Nana used just the right amount of cinnamon to balance a hint of sweetness with the heartiness of the meal – I hope you will love it as much as I do!
Nana’s Cabbage Rolls
12 Cabbage Leaves
1 and ½ Pounds of Hamburger meat
1 and ½ Cups shredded cheese
1 Cup cooked rice
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes – I always use Red Gold!
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 Strips of bacon cut in half
1 egg beaten
2 teaspoons salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 350 F
Mix the hamburger, cooled cooked rice, cheese, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, sage and cinnamon together.
Cut that hard piece out of the cabbage leaf – if there is one. Cut it out like this:
Bring a pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil and drop each cabbage leaf into the water. Using a slotted spoon, take the cabbage out after about a minute – you just want the cabbage to be flexible.
When you take the cabbage out of the boiling water, lay them down on paper towels.
Taking about a serving spoon full of hamburger mixture,
put it into one cabbage leaf and roll up like this. Just like a burrito by folding in the sides as you go.
Wrap a piece of bacon around the roll and secure it all with a toothpick.
Pour the can of diced tomatoes in the bottom of the dish – and you can even stack them 2 high like she did with a little tomato in between each layer.
When they are assembled,
pour the can of crushed tomatoes over the top.
Cook in oven between 45 minutes and an hour. Let it rest for a few minutes and then serve!
I am partying this weekend at Weekend Potluck! http://www.thecountrycook.net/2014/03/weekend-potluck-110.html