While plowing through the electronic turf, I turned up an interesting foodie list.
Titled “13 Forgotten Dishes You Should Bring Back to Life,” it listed foods considered classics and labeled them “snubbed.”
Au contraire. Twelve of the dishes listed are ones I consider basic and fix/cook on a regular basis.
Snubbed, forgotten? Not in my house.
The list went from cabbage rolls to mock turtle soup, which I have to confess is the only recipe I do not consider part of my culinary repertoire.
But going from the cabbage rolls to meatloaf, tuna noodle casserole, stuffed bell peppers, shepherd’s pie and Salisbury steak, who doesn’t wax nostalgic at the mere mention of these beloved dishes?
My all-time family comfort food, chicken and noodles, made the list. Also named were chop suey, pudding pops and homemade Hamburger Helper. This was long before Betty Crocker put it in a box and charged big bucks for premeasuring the ingredients.
I’m appalled they consider cabbage rolls a “forgotten” dish. It’s timeless, a true classic, one that appears in many guises and cultures around the globe.
In my house, we called them Hungarian cabbage rolls, but think about it, the Danes eat kaaldolmer, also known as hvidkaalsrouletter, in Poland they make golabki. It’s holubky for the Slovaks, and holubtsi in the Ukraine. Even the Greeks have a version, dolmades, except instead of cabbage, it’s grape leaves.
Obviously, whoever made up the 13-forgotten list didn’t consult me.
To state my case this week, I’m sharing my mother’s cabbage roll recipe. A winner to be sure, and delicious without a doubt.
Look for well-rounded heads of cabbage and choose one with smooth leaves, because they’re easier to separate.
By the way, this recipe makes a lot; but the cabbage rolls freeze well. Place single servings into freezer bags. They will keep for up to three months. When ready, thaw and heat over low heat in a covered sauce pan, or thaw and zap for a couple of minutes in the microwave.
Hungarian Cabbage Rolls
1 large head cabbage
2 lbs. hamburger
1 c. rice, uncooked
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 medium-sized onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
Two 32-oz. jars (or equivalent) sauerkraut
Two 14 1/2-oz. cans diced tomatoes
Fill a large soup pot with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Core cabbage and carefully place core side down into boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until cabbage leaves begin to separate from the head. Remove and drain well. Allow to cool while making meat mixture.
Combine hamburger with rice, salt, pepper, onion, garlic and parsley. Mix well. Place a layer — about a half of 1 jar — of sauerkraut in the bottom of the soup pot. Take one cabbage leaf and gently shave vein. Place about 2 tablespoons meat mixture at bottom of leaf and roll like a burrito. Fold bottom of leaf over filling, fold sides in toward the center and roll. Place rolls, seam side down, into pot on top of the sauerkraut. Continue rolling until bottom of pot is covered.
Top with remaining half jar of sauerkraut and contents from 1 can of tomatoes. Roll remaining mixture, place rolls in pot and layer as above. Continue rolling and layering until all leaves are filled. Chop small center leaves and add to pot along with sauerkraut.
Rinse jars and cans with small amount of water and add to pot.
Make meatballs from any leftover filling and place in pot among the cabbage rolls. Cover, place over high heat, turning down when liquid begins to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.