Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Joining Suzy from Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday! Visit Suzy and see the other flashbacks that are linked up to Flashback Friday. Join in with your own flashback!

I'm flashing back to a really easy Stuffed Cabbage Roll recipe. I originally found it when I was just starting to cook, after years of takeout. We were missing my Grandma's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, which she called Holishkes, and there was no recipe of hers to be found. I wanted my kids to know all the ethnic foods I had grown up with and loved so I set out to find a recipe for the rolls. In the process, I learned to cook. I learned to love to cook.

My first thought was ordering in the rolls from the Delicatessen! Grandma never would have appreciated takeout, I was sure of that! So I set out to learn. I looked up recipes on the Internet. I asked around. We ate a lot of stuffed cabbage rolls for a while. Between the internet and asking anyone and everyone for a recipe, my friend's mom came close. At least I think it did and if it wasn't exactly like I remembered, it was good, really good. I sat in her kitchen, writing it all down, watching her every move. A little of this, a little of that! So many similar recipes. Some involved. Some not so involved. I went with the easy one, the one that tasted good and was made with love. Thanks, Sydelle! Your recipe has become part of my family!

Not my Grandma's but it's very close, it's easy and it tastes great! Pure comfort food. Brings back some great memories. A very  good flashback. and now I have to make it again soon!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Holishkes)
Source: Syd M
Printable Recipe

2 heads green cabbage
2 pounds chopped meat
1 egg
2 slices white bread slices, soaked in water and then squeeze out the water
3 cans tomato sauce (I think she meant the small ones but I use the 15 oz size)
1/4 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup brown sugar, more or less to taste
garlic powder, to taste

Some optional ingredients I found along the way:
Raisins (not for me)
crushed gingersnaps (someone else's mother suggested this!)
a big squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

Boil the cabbage for a few minutes to soften, and when it's cooled, remove the outer leaves. You can also freeze the cabbage heads overnight, but who has room in the freezer for two heads of cabbage?

In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, combine two cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and raisins, if you're using them, and some garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste to see if you need more sugar, garlic or lemon juice. Add crushed gingersnaps if you want, I got that idea when I was checking out recipes. I tried it a few times, but now I don't bother!

Mix meat, eggs, bread, 1/2 can tomato sauce, rice and about 1/3 cup brown sugar. Make a small meatball  and place it near the stem end of the leaf, fold stem over the filling, fold in the sides and roll it up firmly. Envelope style. Place the cabbage rolls carefully in the sauce (seam side down) and add chopped pieces of the cabbage and raisins if you want. Simmer at low for 1 1/2 hours or more, I let it simmer for a long while. If you see that there is not enough sauce, add more tomato sauce.

Serve with challah to soak up the extra sauce!


  1. Cabbage rolls are one of our favorite meals in the fall/winter. They are so easy to make, taste so good, but....smell the house up while cooking! I have always used ground pork instead of ground beef.

  2. It may not be your GMs exact recipe but as long as it brings you memories of her is a good thing:)

  3. I used to hate cabbage and cabbage rolls when I was little, but somewhere along the way I have grown to love them both. I tried making cabbage rolls a year or so ago and I swear I cooked them forever and a day, but they were still crunchy. I probably didn't have enough liquid or something. I absolutely love your post and the sentiment behind it. I'm so thankful for your Grandma's cabbage rolls or I'd never have gotten to know you (and your wonderful recipes!).

  4. I love to explore different foods and I found the cabbage rolls very tasty! I have not made an authentic one, but I am going to try your recipe. Just curious about the uncooked rice.

  5. Carol, I was just thinking about making cabbage rolls after my sister posted on Facebook that she made some :-) Thankyou, I'll be using your "simple recipe!

  6. That looks like a very nice and easy recipe. Never thought of pairing cabbage and tomato sauce :)

  7. I would love to try these. My mother never made cabbage rolls so they weren't something that I grew up with. She made a boiled dinner (I know that sounds awful) with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions and ham that was actually quite good.

  8. Thanks for reminding me about Cabbage Rolls! I have not made Golabki in a very long time. Growing up we ate them so often. Another tasty meal for me to prepare in my Slow Cooker/Crock Pot.

  9. Yours look good! I have made hundreds, but ate only one..not my thing...but I like pears..:)
    Mike likes them, but he calls them something else...Ukrainian

  10. Nothing ever seems to be as good as our Grandmas used to make. I have never made or eaten cabbage rolls as far as I recall.
    Yours do look good..maybe I need to spread my wings on this one...

  11. I have never eaten cabbage rolls either but I do like everything in this recipe so maybe I'll have to make a small batch for myself sometime. J is not a cabbage fan - raw or cooked.

    I just love spotting all the blue in your cookware, dinnerware & even towels in your posts :)

  12. Carol, I love your posts in which you're trying to re-create one of your grandma's recipe.

    Cabbage rolls were a regular item at our apartment when we were first married and for several years afterwards... used a recipe from a cookbook that was a wedding gift. We would make a huge batch and freeze them.

    Just showed your post to John and he now wants cabbage rolls. Neither of us can remember the last time we made them.

  13. Made these before, but not in a simmering sauce...great stuff.


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