Stuffed cabbage fine for family gathering


April 10, 2002|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Sher Eldemire-Rosenberg of Baltimore writes: "I'm looking for a stuffed-cabbage recipe like my husband's Aunt Sophie made when he was growing up. My husband describes it as having a sweet and sour tomato red sauce and made with ground beef. He says it is an old Jewish dish."

Her answer came from the Rev. Dorothy Price Knudson, a Presbyterian minister from Walla Walla, Wash., who wrote: "I might be an unlikely source for Jewish recipes, but I'm enclosing Barbara Walters' Mother's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from McCall's in May 1971. I hope it fits the bill for Sher Eldemire-Rosenberg. It makes a big quantity."

Stuffed Cabbage

Makes 28 rolls; serves 14

3 pounds lean ground chuck

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons celery salt

1/2 cup ketchup

2 eggs

1/2 cup crushed unsalted crackers

2 heads (2-pound size) green cabbage

6 quarts boiling water

3 cups chopped onion

2 bottles (12-ounce size) chili sauce, 2 cups

1 cup grape jelly

In a large bowl, combine chuck, salt, pepper, celery salt, ketchup, eggs and crushed crackers. Mix with hands just until mixture is well-combined. Cut out and discard hard center cores of cabbages.

Place cabbages in large kettle. Pour boiling water over; let stand until leaves are flexible and can be removed easily from the head, about 5 minutes. (If necessary, return cabbages to hot water to soften inner leaves.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a 1/4 -cup measure, scoop up a scant 1/4 -cup meat mixture. With hands, form into rolls, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, making about 28 rolls in all. Place each meat roll on a drained cabbage leaf. Fold top of leaf over meat, then fold sides and roll up into an oblong. Continue rolling remaining meat rolls and cabbage leaves.

In the bottom of a lightly greased 12-inch-by-11 1/2 -inch- by-2 1/2 -inch roasting pan, spread chopped onion evenly. Arrange cabbage rolls in neat rows on top of onion. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the 2 cups of chili sauce and the grape jelly with 1/4 cup water; heat over medium heat and stir to melt jelly.

Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake 2 hours. Remove foil; brush rolls with sauce; bake, uncovered, 40 minutes longer or until sauce is thick and syrupy and cabbage rolls are glazed. Serve with sauce spooned over rolls.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a big production, culminating in some serious oven time. Make it for a big family get-together or even as a buffet item. I think it doesn't need the full 40 minutes at the end. I would recommend more like 20 minutes.

"The more you move around the little cabbage bundles, the likelier you are to tear the delicate cabbage, so leave them be on the bed of onions until you are ready to plate them. The sauce is sweet and tomatoey (a little like the sauce on the classic Swedish meatball recipe) and appeals to young and old alike. Try to use very lean ground chuck to avoid making the sauce overly fatty."

Recipe requests

Jo Ann Grande of Greensburg, Pa., writes that many years ago, "We ate at an Italian restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pa., where the Pineapple Cheese Pie was delicious. I believe it was ricotta cheese, and when the pie was baked, it separated in layers -- one was crushed pineapple and the other a cheese layer. I would really like to have this recipe if possible."

Laureen Dordal of Fayetteville, N.C., writes that she has been searching for a recipe for "Chicken Pot Pie Soup like the one Mary Doo's Deli in Fayetteville makes. They can't seem to keep it stocked on a cold rainy day."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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