Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not My Mother's Cabbage Rolls

My late mother used to make the most wonderful, delicious, dainty cabbage rolls - or holubchi.
She would patiently par-boil the rice, prepare the cabbage leaves by trimming the veins and steaming (or even freezing) the cabbage leaves in advance to make the rolling easy. Her holubchi were a work of art. They were all of uniform size and they lined up smartly in the roaster as they waded in a tomato soup sauce.

I have made REAL cabbage rolls a few times. They were often irregular in shape and often had rice spilling out of the ends that I had not managed to tuck in properly. I don't make them anymore. Instead, I make - you guessed it - Lazy Holubchi! They taste the same - but they are half the work and they don't highlight my incompetence as a cabbage roller!

Here's my version. My husband loves them.

Lazy Holubchi (Cabbage Rolls)

2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups water
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. salt (optional - if you are trying to avoid salt)
1 tbsp. oil
Approx. 1 pound coarsely shredded cabbage (8 cups raw)
1-10 oz. can of tomato soup. (Alternatively, use 2 cups tomato juice or canned tomatoes.)

1. Par cook rice in the salted water. Remove from heat while it is still underdone.

2. Spray a non-stick pan with vegetable spray and add 1 tbsp  oil. Saute the onion until transparent.  Add a little water or vegetable stock to the pan if it starts to stick. I keep the amount of oil at a minimum to reduce the calories.

3. Microwave the cabbage to partly cook. (I like to use the sensor cook for fresh vegetables on my microwave. Alternatively, the cabbage could be steamed long enough to soften it a bit. I found the 8 cups of raw cabbage reduced to 6 cups partly cooked.

4. Spray a roasting pan with vegetable spray and combine the cabbage, rice and onions. Pepper it and mix it well to distribute all the ingredients.

5. Dilute a can of tomato soup with an equal amount of water and pour it over the rice mixture. Poke the mixture with a spoon in several places to allow the liquid to penetrate.

6. Cover and roast at 325° F. for 1-1/2 - 2 hours. Check part way through - and if it appears to be dry, add some liquid - either tomato juice or water.  Mine took 1-1/2 hour, but if the rice had been par-cooked less to start with, it would have needed longer. Best to test. If cabbage and rice are soft, you know it's ready to eat!

This recipe makes about 10 cups of lazy holubchi.  In WeightWatcher points®, it works out to 2.5 points per cup.

We had it with veal chops and salad, but I can easily make a meal of it on its' own.

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