Kohlrouladen – Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage rolls are true comfort food, so before spring kicks off properly I must share this recipe with you. After that we can move on to lighter, less wintery things, but this is a great backup, in case of unexpected frost.
Some of the best meals are very simple, and this is one of them. It’s also cheap, great for a weeknight. And the smell of cabbage sautéed in butter is so addictive you’ll want it again and again.
First, get a few large leaves off your cabbage. It helps to cut out the stem first, but if you still find it too stiff, hold it under running water so that the water flows under the leaves and helps you peel them off without breaking them. I use about two leaves per roll (it all depends on the size of the cabbage), and make two medium sized rolls per person. With 500g of minced meat you can feed 4 people if you serve a side such as potatoes, or two very hungry ones – my husband and I have managed, I’m ashamed to admit. And we also had potatoes. But that is probably not indicative of an average person’s appetite…
Anyway, drop the cabbage leaves into boiling salt water for 30 seconds or so, then rinse under cold water (or drop into ice water). This makes them soft enough to work with, but doesn’t cook them.
Form meat balls in the hollow of your hands, then wrap them up in cabbage leaves. I tend to roll them up and then fold in the ends, which I secure with small skewers. Toothpicks will work but it can be fiddly, ideally you want something just a bit longer.
Now comes the bit with the butter. Melt a generous amount in a large pan and let the cabbage rolls sauté in it. Stand near the hob and enjoy the smell. Turn them over to brown the other side, and when you’re happy with the colour add the stock (just enough to cover the base of the pan, you don’t want to “boil” your rolls), cover with a lid and let them simmer until done, depending on the size of your rolls this can be between 30 and 50 minutes.
Since I can’t live without gravy, I thicken the stock at the end and serve it with the cabbage rolls. Add some simple boiled potatoes and that’s it.
One hint: You can vary the seasoning of the minced meat to your liking, for example try paprika or a bit of chili powder. And the rest of the cabbage will make a lovely cole slaw for another night, bear with me for a good German recipe on this.
Ingredients list (serves 2-4)
For the rolls:
- 1 cabbage (only the large outer leaves will be used)
- 500g minced beef (or whichever type of minced meat you prefer)
- 1 onion
- 1 stale bread roll or a hand full of bread crumbs
- 1 tea spoon of mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 table spoons of butter
- ca. 500ml of beef stock to simmer
- flour or cornflour to thicken