Learning To Not Waste.
Nov. 17, 2012 7:12 pm
Updated: Nov. 18, 2012 11:09 am
I was looking out over my garden the other day. It was, and still is, in a sad state. The beds haven't been put to bed yet, and the stakes and trellises need to be put in the barn. But amidst all the decay and detritus I saw some dark green. Some of it
wasn't weeds either! When I harvested cabbage a couple of months ago, I left the stalks in the ground. Lo and behold, they were growing quite well. Some of them had produced several tiny heads on multiple stalks. The leaves were fairly large, and a beautiful,
dark green. I had savoy, Copenhagen Market, and some variety of purple cabbage. As I was rooting around in the garden, I also found some walking onions and some Swiss chard. I had given up on the Swiss chard as it didn't grow at all since early Spring. I had
never heard of anyone using cabbage leaves like this, but I figured that it really can't be much different than using the head. What to make?
Well, the first day I decided to make Holupchi, or Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls. I didn't have a recipe, but I do have 53 years of eating Holupchi for Easter and Christmas under my belt. I mean that literally, too! So I blanched the biggest leaves in boiling water
and then dunked them into an ice bath. For a filling I took about a total of a pound and a half of ground beef, veal and pork (browned and defatted), about three cups of cooked basmati rice, and half a large, sweet onion chopped and sweated, and one 14 ounce
can of diced tomato. I seasoned it to taste and then made the cabbage rolls with it. I remember sauce on the holupchi. So I sliced the remaining onion the long way, and thin. This got sweated again in some olive oil and the I added a large can of crushed tomato.
Then I decided to use sweet spices for flavoring. I used one scant teaspoon of allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. I decided, against tradition, to add a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper flakes. I had a lot of left over filling. I
put it in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, sprinkled chopped cabbage on it, put the cabbage rolls on top of that and then spread the sauce over that. I baked it at 350 F for about an hour. My kids want me to make this more often!
I still had (and have) a lot of cabbage leaves left, but not big enough to make rolls. I saw a recipe for German Cabbage Borscht, but it looked boring. Since I am wanting to learn to make stock, I thought why not make part of the stock I need myself, and then
add in store bought stock? I decided to make a pot of beef and barley soup with cabbage. I will try to remember what I put in it in the future, but it was a real success for a first time. I used about 1 1/2 pounds of beef short ribs and a pound of stew meat
to start the stock. I browned the meat and then added one chopped up sweet onion and about 2 cups of a good Italian red wine, then covered the meat with water and simmered for 2 hours. I removed the bones and connective tissue from the meat and cubed the meat
and added back to the soup. I tasted it at that point and though I had done very well.
By the time the soup was ready to serve, my girls were starving. They had just gotten home from swim practice. I think I managed to impress them with cabbage twice in one week!
I don't mean to, but I guess I am patting myself on the back. I'd better not do that too often. It gets boring.