How good are the traditional stuffed cabbage rolls? Exceptionally good, I know but the question and the reality
I could easily say that this dish is a D-constructed version of the cabbage rolls or in other words (perhaps not so brutal) never rolled cabbage rolls. Ha ha. Oh
Big time-saving but still
Stuffed cabbage rolls
Lucky for them, I do make them almost, almost whenever we fancy them. Cabbage is not always everybody’s cup of tea but
Convinced’ish’? Want to give give it a try and a go? Come on, go for it!
Oh , that added bacon, the smokiness, the fresh herbs added makes this dish such a desirable one.
In terms of cabbage type you may want to use, you can go for fresh one or sour/ pickled one, depending on what you like and which one you know best, not to say that you should try it both ways. It’s equally delicious and worth a try to see which one you may like best.
I am a big fan of cabbage and I particularly like cabbage casserole dish a little bit (more) on the spicy side, in
I will also have to mention that, particularly around winter time this cabbage casserole with mince and rice is a real warming dish and we tend to have it with polents on the side and a dollop of creme fraiche. Oh, soo good!
Cabbage casserole with beef mince and fresh herbs
This cabbage casserole with ground/minced beef and fresh herbs is a shortcut to the traditional stuffed cabbage rolls. Easy and quicker to prepare, yet super delicious.
- 1 medium cabbage fresh or sour -roughly chopped
- 400 g mince beef *
- 200 g lardons or smoked bacon
- 2 onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 2 tbsp olive oil * optional
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste dissolved into 150ml lukewarm water
- 120 g rice well rinsed/washed
- 1 tin chopped tomato
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt *
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lemon squeezed *
- 3-4 tbsp creme fraîche
- 10 springs fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper *
Preheat the oven at 180°C or 375F. Prepare a 28x28cm ovenproof ceramic dish.
If using fresh cabbage start by chopping the cabbage roughly and blanch it in boiling water for about 5 to 10 minutes with 1 tbsp of salt for extra taste. (please see recipe notes for more tips) * I like it crunchier so I only blanch it for 5 min.
In a deep pan placed over a medium heat add the bacon or lardons, chopped onions, carrot, celery, pepper and the bay leaves. Cook for about 2-3 min.
And the ground/mince beef and cook for a further 2 minutes stirring occasionally until the beef is no longer pink. Add the rice and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add some water as needed, approximately 250ml/2 cups).
Add the garlic tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, 1/2 of the fresh or dry thyme, season well and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
Mix in the blanched cabbage, cayenne pepper, parsley and remaining thyme, mix well and transfer it into the oven dish. Try and fish out the bay leaves now. They would have given their bit of flavour by now.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 190°C /375F. When you’re ready take out and enjoy with a drizzle of lemon juice over for some crème fraîche. Enjoy!
I only use oil if the meat is really lean, but if the beef has a fat content of anything more than 5% then I don’t use any oil at all.
I have mentioned a decent amount of cayenne pepper which is half a teaspoon but you can go for more or a lot less depending on your palette, spiciness tolerance and threshold.
If you’re using fresh cabbage do go-ahead and squeeze half a lemon or even one lemon over it towards the end, but if you use sour cabbage there is no need for lemon juice.
Same with the salt- if you are using fresh cabbage you will need to season and add plenty of salt when blanching the cabbage but if you are using sour cabbage you might have to roughly chop it and put this into cold water for a good 1/2h to 1h prior to cooking it in order to de-salt it as this tends to be quite salty.
Feel free to add more vegetables to this dish if you like, anything seasonal, anything you’d like, anything in hand, anything you fancy. I sometimes add parsnip, sometimes courgettes or even aubergines that have been shallow fried priorly, these all add a really nice and different taste and flavours to the dish.