Cabbage Rolls

While perusing the interwebs for a recipe to make for St. Patrick’s Day, I came across one for cabbage rolls. Now, I’m no food expert, but these cabbage rolls didn’t seem to fit into the Irish food category. I did some research (aka Googled “cabbage roll”) and found out that cabbage rolls, according to Wikipedia, are “common to the ethnic cuisines of the Balkans, Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East.”  The Wikipedia page goes on to list and describe several variations of the dish.

Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 lb Italian sausage (I used ready-to-eat Italian sausage links and simply peeled off the skin)

Instructions

  1. Place cabbage in freezer overnight. When ready to use remove from freezer and let sit for a few minutes to thaw. Peel off two outermost leaves and discard. Remove next eight leaves,  cutting through thick vein at base if needed. Set cabbage leaves aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring as needed.
  3. While sauce is cooking, combine rice, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, remaining onion and salt in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey and sausage and mix well.
  4. Pour about half of the prepared sauce in a large skillet. Place 1/2 cup of the meat mixture in each cabbage leaf and roll like a burrito. Place each roll, seam side down, in the skillet pan. Once all of the rolls are  in the pan pour the rest of the sauce over them.
  5. Cover and cook for about 1 hour over low-medium heat. Stick a meat thermometer in the middle of rolls to check for doneness (temp will depend on what kind of meat you use), and cook a bit longer if needed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very finicky stove that thinks low means medium and medium means burn everything. Most of the cabbage rolls and the sauce burned onto the bottom of my skillet. I was able to salvage a lot of it, but was left with a very big mess. One good thing to come out of my stove misadventures: I’ve become an expert on how to remove burned-on gunk from pans and stove tops.

Despite the mess and work required to clean the pan, these turned out really yummy. I may try making the next batch in a crockpot.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home.

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Irish Beef Stew

We’re expecting a resurgence of winter this week –  good ol’ Minnesota weather – so I thought it would be a good idea to make something warm and filling.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up tomorrow, this stew fit the bill.

The first time I made this stew I was living on my own for the first time in an apartment in Minneapolis, and was slightly afraid that the crock pot would burn my building down. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and the end result was delicious.

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew

Ingredients

Note: Feel free to vary the amount of vegetables you use in this recipe, depending on your preferred meat to vegetable ratio.

  • 3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch-pieces
  • 2 tbsp butter or non-dairy alternative such as Earth Balance
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup stout beer (I used Furthermore’s Three Feet Deep)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Put the potatoes, onion, garlic, and carrots in a crock pot.
  2. Rinse the stew meat and pat dry, then sprinkle with some salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the stew meat and cook until it’s browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the skillet and add it to the crockpot, leaving juices in the pan.
  3. Add the butter or non-dairy alternative to the skillet and let it melt. Add the beef broth, red wine, beer, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, and then turn the heat down to low. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes. Add the cornstarch and water mix and let simmer for a minute or two over low heat until the sauce thickens to desired consistency. Add more cornstarch/water mixture if needed.
  4. Pour the sauce into the crockpot and add the bay leaves. Stir the stew so everything is mixed up well. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 6 to 9 hours.

To really get in the St. Patty’s Day spirit, serve this with Irish soda bread.

Source: Adapted from the little kitchen

Five-Way Chili

According to David Rosengarten, author of It’s All American Food, this dish was invented in 1922 by a northern Greek immigrant who wanted to “bring all kinds of Old Country spices into chili.” He decided to layer other things with the spiced chili, creating five different options or ways (hence the title of the recipe) to eat the dish. One-way chili is the spiced chili by itself; two-way chili is the spiced chili on top of spaghetti noodles; three way chili adds cheese; four-way chili adds chopped raw onions; and finally, five-way chili tops it all off with beans.

Unusual? Maybe a little. Delicious? YES. 

Cincinnati Five-Way Chili

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 (1 oz) square unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked
  • Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese (optional), finely chopped onion, kidney beans (drained and warmed)

Instructions

  1. Grind the coriander seeds in a spice grinder, or put them in a plastic bag and use a blunt object to break them up. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, cayenne, cloves, nutmeg, and mustard seeds. Set aside.
  2. In a large soup pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown, breaking up into small crumbles. I like to use a plastic utensil that looks kind of like a potato masher to do this.
  3. When beef is browned add onion, garlic, and the spice mix that you set aside earlier, and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, water, barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, chocolate, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. You may have to stir occasionally, as the mixture gets  heavier and can stick to the pan.  Remove bay leaves before serving.
  6. To serve: divide spaghetti among bowls or plates. Top with chili mixture, and cheese, onion, and kidney beans. 

Source: Adapted from It’s All American Food by David Rosengarten