I am now living west of the Mississippi, but when I was growing up in a northeastern state, these were present at weddings, fire company (hosey) picnics, church functions, and family holidays in various Eastern European traditions. Called halupkies, cabbage rolls, stuffed cabbage, blind pigeons, or Hunky Hand grenades, they were staples of Eastern European cooking. They are packed full of protein, whole grain goodness, Vitamin C, and they are filling!
I only use the dark green, outer leaves of the cabbage head. They are easier to roll and have more nutrients than the pale, inner leaves. You have to find these at farmer’s markets, in your own garden, or possibly at the local store if you make friends with the produce manager. They usually cut off the outer leaves before arranging them in the produce section, so you can ask if they will either keep the leaves on the head or save the outer leaves for you. I have chickens, so the local produce manager also keeps the produce and fruit cull for me. My hens are happy hens.
- 1 pound ground venison or beef (I buy various cuts on reduced quick sale and grind it myself)
- 1 pound ground pork (ditto on quick sale)
- 1 cup barley
- 1 sweet onion, grated
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- approximately 4 pounds of outer cabbage leaves
- 4 cans (15 ozs each) sauerkraut
- 2 cans (15 ozs each) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ozs) tomato sauce
- In a medium size pot, heat 2 cups of water. When it is boiling, add the barley. Reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and fluff with a fork.
- Combine ground meat, cooked barley, onion, eggs, butter, and seasonings. Set aside.
- On all of the cabbage, trim the center rib to about 1/8 inch thick so the leaves are easy to roll. Wash the leaves. While you are trimming and washing the leaves, heat salted water in a large stock pot until boiling. When the water is boiling, place the leaves in the water and blanch for 10 minutes. You may need to do this in several batches. When the time is up, remove leaves from water and allow to cool in a colander.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- <place picture here- right justified> Using a large turkey roaster, place a layer of 2 cans of sauerkraut. Take approximately 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture and shape into a little football. Select a cabbage leaf. Place the meat football on the leaf at the stem end, and roll the cabbage leaf up like a Mexican burrito stuffed cabbage. Arrange each cabbage roll in the roaster. When you have a full layer, top the rolls with 2 cans of sauerkraut. Arrange a second layer of cabbage rolls. Top that layer with 2 cans of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. Cover with roaster lid. Bake 2 hours. Makes approximately 50 rolls.
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