After coming back from Russia, I had to learn to make cabbage rolls that didn’t taste like the nastiness from my childhood. This recipe combines an Emeril recipe with some ingredients from a Russian cookbook I purchased, and the results were awesome. Ok, awesome except for the resulting middle-of-the-night-gastrointestinal-distress. Don’t make this for a date.
Serves: 12 to 15 rolls
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes and their juices
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large head cabbage, cored and scalded in hot water until soft and easy to separate
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 pounds ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 1/2 cups par-boiled long-grain white rice
2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 cup prunes, reconstituted in hot water and chopped
½ tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sour cream and chopped dill, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Separate the cabbage leaves and remove the hard spine from each leaf. Spread on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.
To make the stuffing, in a medium skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very wilted and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until for 1 minute. Add prunes, and cook 1 additional minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Lay the cabbage leaves, rib side down, on a flat work surface. Remove rib or shave down leaf to make leaf easy to roll.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, rice, eggs, Essence, salt, pepper, and cooked onions. Mix well with a heavy wooden spoon or your hands.
Line a large baking dish or roaster with remaining cabbage leaves. One at a time, spoon the filling into the center of the cabbage leaves, about 1/4 cup in each, depending upon the size of the leaves. Roll each into a neat cylinder and place in a single layer in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, stacking the cabbage packages, as necessary. Pour sauce over the rolls, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the meat is cooked through and the rolls are tender, about 2 hours.
Remove from the oven and serve the rolls with any remaining sauce spooned over the top, if desired. Top with sour cream and chopped dill.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup