Work in progress:
Place holder for way too much information about cabbage rolls done like my Hungarian grandmother.
For me it is way good to go back to a recipe I have made dozens of times and while making it, do an evaluation about how good it really is or what statement you are making with the dish. I don't think my grandmas recipe/dish spoke loudly enough of the need to extend these now meaty dishes with a grain. I honestly would like to make it one day with a minimum of meat and see how the filling holds up.
I have wanted to add some instruction along the building this dish that I deem important.
When you are combining the egg and Kasha/Buckweat, do a VERY good job of incorporating the kernels into the egg yolks, the better job you do at this insures a uniform browning of the Buckwheat.
Once you have it all combined guarantee yourself (taste test) that the Buckwheat is tender and that it has absorbed all of the liquid. The cabbage leaves and the tomato sauce will provide some liquid, but the Buckwheat has to be al-dente at this point. Tending toward soft.
Stuffed Cabbage w/Kasha from Mike ver.12
Serves: 15 to 20
2 large head cabbage
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 cups dry kasha (not boil in bag)
2 egg yolks
1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 lb ground beef chuck
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp caraway seed slightly crushed
3 Tbl Paprika mixed into the meat
3 cups Beef Stock DIVIDED
2 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Using boxed tomatoes this time- I'll fill in the amount..
18 ounces tomato paste ( I may use less tomato paste in this version)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup + tablespoons vinegar White or Apple Cider
Zest of 1 large orange
1 1/2 Tbl. Salt
2 teaspoons celery seed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Core and cook each whole head of cabbage in large pot of boiling water about 5 minutes to soften the leaves. Stick a fork in the heart of the cabbage and rotate in the hot water and remove the leaves with tongs as they come off. Drain and set aside in colander over large bowl. When the leaves are cool, you may want to slice off the thick part of the main vein in each cabbage leaf. Be sure the cabbage leaves are wilted enough to roll without tearing. If the leaves (especially the large leaves) need more cooking, drop them into the boiling water for a few minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.
Sauté onion in oil in a heavy 2- to 3-quart skillet. With slotted spoon or tongs, remove onion from pan and set aside.
In same oily pan sauté meat until separated and slightly brown. Set aside.
< I use grandmas old meat separation method here> I add about a quart of water to the meat in the pan before the heat is applied, I mix it well with my hand until I have broken the meat clods into meat kernels. I apply low heat and stir every 2-3 minutes until the meat has set and no redness appears and the meat is truly in kernels (like the Kasha). I then turn up the heat and pay attention to the pan about every 3-4 minutes, stirring and mixing until the meat begins to brown, you will hear the change in tempo in that skillet on high when all of the water is gone. Stir it evenly to make sure that some of it browns.
Mix 1 1/2 cups of Kasha with two egg yolks in dry bowl until completely coated.
<< this single step makes or breaks this dish, spend a good deal of time insuring that each and every Kasha kernel is coated. >>
Place coated Kasha into an unseasoned medium hot skillet (325º); and with a flat spatula, separate the kasha, cooking the egg on the surface of the Kasha until all the kernels are separate and the smell of buckwheat is in the air. The Kasha will slightly brown but only slightly.
Add the Sautéed onion and stir quickly,
add one cup of the beef broth and stir until incorporated.
Stir in meat mixture and rest of the beef broth and salt and pepper and let this mixture simmer 15 to 20 minutes, beginning to check at 15 minutes.
When only a small amount of water remains in the bottom of the pot, remove from heat.
Cover and let sit a few (up to overnight) minutes until the kasha absorbs the stock. Stir to fluff and to separate the grains. Let this mixture cool enough to handle while making cabbage rolls.
Drain some of the liquid from the tomatoes into a heavy 3 quart pot. Stir in the tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add remaining contents of tomato cans. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher to break them up. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer about 10 minutes. Stir and add to baking pan as called for in above recipe. (MikeNote) I added a bit more apple cider vinegar to this mixture while it was still in the pan. If this mixture is too thick (depending on type of tomato paste) add a bit of beef stock or water.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Separate the cabbage leaves. On each leaf, place 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of kasha. Fold one edge of the leaf over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll.
Cut up any leftover cabbage and place in an oiled baking dish or casserole. Place rolls seam side down on top. Pour in sauce almost to cover. Cover with foil or lid and bake about 2 hours, or until cabbage is tender. Uncover for the last 45 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken (this sauce is fairly thick). Baste occasionally and adjust seasoning according to your taste.
Finally remembered and written by Mike Stock 12/17/2004
Updated and slightly changed for v.12 on 12/12/2012