Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

I didn’t grow up eating stuffed cabbage. I think the first time I ever ate a cabbage roll was at the home of a friend of a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina. Maybe I was just hungry, but I remember liking them immediately. I’ve thought about making a batch of cabbage rolls ever since. Still, the idea of steaming and rolling the cabbage never really appealed to me enough to give it a whirl. Then, one day, I had an idea to use the cabbage roll ingredients and make a hearty stew or burgoo. You know my mantra, add a salad, some wine and crusty bread, and you’ll have a meal. The recipe actually turned out much better than I had anticipated. But, it made enough for 10 to 12 servings, and I only needed to feed Vince and me, so I froze three-fourths of it. I turned what I didn’t freeze into a cabbage roll casserole topped with a Swiss cheese sauce. It was delicious! Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls are great for a cold winter evening by the fire. Enjoy!

Cabbage Roll

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls
1½ cups white or brown rice, cooked according to package directions (3 cups cooked rice)
1½ pounds lean ground beef
8 ounces bacon, diced
½ cup water
1 large head cabbage, shredded or chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen seasoning blend (onions and peppers)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup dry red wine 
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
¾ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup drained sauerkraut
Cheese Topping for Complete Recipe:
3 cups Swiss cheese
2 eggs
⅓ cup milk
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, to garnish
Cheese Topping for ¼ Recipe: ¾ cup Swiss cheese, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk
Cook rice according to package directions. Cover and set aside. In a large pot, brown ground beef with bacon until done. Drain well on paper towels. Pour excess grease from the pot. Place pot back on the stove and add ½ cup water. Add cabbage and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in package of seasoning blend and chopped garlic. Add beef-bacon mixture to the cabbage. Stir in red wine, tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and ketchup. Season with thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir in drained sauerkraut and warm through. Add cooked rice to the pot and taste to check seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes. Pour beef-cabbage mixture into a large, lightly greased baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix together Swiss cheese, eggs and milk. Remove foil, top casserole with cheese mixture and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley. Serves 10 to 12.

Cabbage Roll

Cook rice according to package directions. Cover and set aside. In a large pot, brown ground beef with bacon until done. Drain well on paper towels.

Cabbage Roll

Pour excess grease from the pot. Place pot back on the stove and add ½ cup water. Add cabbage and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes.

Cabbage Roll

Stir in package of seasoning blend and chopped garlic.

Cabbage Roll

Add beef-bacon mixture to the cabbage. Stir in red wine, tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and ketchup. Season with thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir in drained sauerkraut and warm through.

Cabbage Roll

Add cooked rice to the pot and taste to check seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Cabbage Roll

Pour beef-cabbage mixture into a large, lightly greased baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Cabbage Roll

In a medium bowl, mix together Swiss cheese, eggs and milk. Remove foil, top casserole with cheese mixture and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.

Cabbage Roll

Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.

Catering by Debbi Covington

www.cateringbydebbicovington.com