I don’t know about you, but I must confess I am a stuffed cabbage addict, simply because they are delicious, meat or just rice filling. It’s getting colder everyday, so this is the reason we have to make our own sauerkraut or pickled cabbage, you name it, so we could have a fast but not furious way to cook our stuffed cabbage recipe. We should learn how to make our pickled cabbage not only because it tastes great, but also because it’s very healthy with its probiotic qualities, helping our gut to work properly. So, I will give you an easy recipe for our pickled cabbage but also for our tasty stuffed cabbage.
First thing first we need a big jar or a plastic container big enough for our 8 cabbages, medium size, carefully picked so we could enjoy their thin and translucent leaves to fill them when they are sour and salty enough for our stuffed cabbage recipe. We also need around 10 dill sticks, 10 horseradish roots, 5 thyme stems well dried, 2 hands full of corn grains, natural salt, no iodine included, about 4 tablespoons of each gallon of water and, of course, boiled water, cooled at our favorite cup of tea temperature. I know it might look funny but this boiled water and the salt is the secret for our perfect pickled cabbage. For a better taste and aroma we should also add 2 or 3 Granny Smith apples or quinces on the bottom of our jar. First we have to remove the dirty and wilted leaves of every cabbage. Use a sharp knife or cutter to remove a little part of the cabbage core and fill the hole with salt. Put the Granny Smith apples or quinces into the jar along with half of the horseradish roots, half of the corn grains, thyme and dill sticks and then start to put the cabbage with the hole full of salt up, not to lose the salt into the jar, add the rest of the thyme, corn grains and horseradish roots between the cabbage layers and cover the last cabbage with the rest of dill sticks. Cover the jar and keep it into the kitchen for the next 2 days so the salt could melt and do its magic work into every cabbage. Now it’s time for our brine! Boil the water with the salt, 4 tablespoons on each gallon of water, around 4 and a half gallons of water for our 8 cabbages jar, then leave it to cool a little until it’s still hot but it could be easily drink. I will not ask you to drink the water, but to pour it over the cabbage into the jar. I just try to be funny! Make sure that all the cabbage is completely covered by this brine and put a heavy brick on top of it, right into the jar, to keep it this way. Cover the jar properly, using kitchen tape if necessary, so the content be protected and move the jar into a cold place, it could be your pantry, your deck or even into your basement if you have a cold one, in order to let the cabbage, boiled water and salt do their jobs. The pickled cabbage will be ready in four weeks, precisely!
If you want to fill the pickled cabbage leaves and enjoy it just the way I show you into my pictures, for 36 pieces you need around half a pound of minced pork meat, quarter of a pound of minced beef meat, a small cup of rice, two big onions, one teaspoon of red bell pepper hot or sweet, it is all up to you, and, of course, smoked bacon finely sliced so we could wrap each of these little cabbage babies into it. First we need to braise the onion finely chopped, add the rice to turn it translucent, and mix with the bell pepper paste. Mix the braised rice and onion mix with the meat, add a small cup of chicken or beef soup, salt and pepper, one tablespoon of dill powder, one teaspoon of thyme powder. You should take care not to add too much salt into the meat mix because the cabbage is already salty. Anyway, if you think your stuffed cabbage is too salty, you can add a big chunk of bread into the pot, give it a nice boil along with your stuffed cabbage and the bread will absorb the extra salt of your meal! Take every cabbage leaf and remove the hard ribbed part if necessary. If big enough, you can cut each leaf in two and take one teaspoon of meat mix and wrap it into the cabbage, then wrap it all into a nice slice of smoked bacon. Put 4 tablespoons of oil into a large pot or oven tray, add a thick lay of shredded cabbages and smoked bacon mixed with tomatoes pure or small cubes, then place the stuffed cabbage until they are all in the pot, cover with another thick lay of shredded cabbage, smoked bacon and tomatoes pure. Add around 2 cups of water mixed with one cup of apple juice, no sugar in it, cover the pot or the tray with aluminum foil and put it into the oven for about 3 hours. You can check if the cabbage could be cut with your fork, you should remove the aluminum foil and put the tray back into the oven for another 15 minutes, so it could look golden brown. This is a delicious recipe for all our winter holydays and you can make it in advance, because the taste of our stuffed cabbage becomes better everyday, so you can make it now and eat it after three or even more days, of course, keeping it into the fridge! You can also make a bigger amount of stuffed cabbage now and keep it into the freezer for couple of months!
Now if you are looking for veggie recipes, you can replace the meat with mushrooms, finely chopped or even with granulated soy, it will be delicious anyway and this meat or no meat stuffed cabbage I can guarantee will be the star of your Christmas table. Also if you want the meat recipe to be healthier, you can replace the pork and beef meat with turkey or chicken breast and the taste will be perfect too!
Pictures by Pixabay and Suflete la sueta