Romanian Cabbage Rolls
by Benjamin Maides, Chef, Au Courant Regional Kitchen, Omaha, Nebraska
Serves 6 to 8 (makes about 20 rolls)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 large head green cabbage, cored
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound Certified Piedmontese 85% lean ground beef
- 3 cups chopped cabbage
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 8 strips bacon, sliced thin
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add vinegar. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Carefully submerge the whole head of cabbage into the water and boil for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath to chill, about 2 minutes. Drain cabbage in a colander.
Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, ground beef, and chopped cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. When the ground beef is cooked through, add the rice and toast for 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard and herbs and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Carefully remove each layer from the cooled and drained head of cabbage, keeping the leaves as large and intact as possible. Lay out each cabbage leaf into a nice sheet, patching with smaller pieces as needed. Center a portion of filling on each piece of cabbage and roll like a spring roll. Transfer the cabbage rolls to a casserole dish and top with tomato sauce and bacon slices. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.