German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Kohlrouladen)
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a classic German comfort food and a perfect use of products (like cabbage) that come from the garden in the late fall. You can increase the dish’s spicy factor by adding additional caraway, mustard, or tomato sauce to the meat sauce of this recipe. What I love about this dish is its versatility as you can substitute any protein – like chicken, pork, veal, or beef or a mixture of the above and you get consistent & delicious results.
- 1 1/2 pound head of cabbage
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Ultra-Set mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
- Discard by pealing old or discolored leaves from the outside of the head of the cabbage.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut the stem out of the cabbage. This should leave a cone shaped hole.
- Place the cabbage in large pot and cover with water. The water should almost cover the cabbage.
- Add two tablespoons of salt.
- Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the cabbage to sit for a few minutes. Then begin to peal the outer leaves off one-by-one and allow the water to drain completely from the leaves.
- While the cabbage water is coming to a boil, combine the chopped meat with the egg, breadcrumbs, paprika, salt, marjoram or oregano, and pepper until well incorporated. Do not over mix because the meat will become tough.
- Form 10 two-inch-long meat rolls using about 1/4 cup meat mixture for each roll.
- Lay out a cabbage leaf and cut out the thickest vein (only 1/3 to 2/3 of the way up the leaf) as necessary so you can roll the leaf. Place a meat roll in the thinner, cupped portion of the leaf, and fold the roll on three sides, then roll to the thickest part (like a burrito).
- Tie like a gift package (in quarters) with kitchen string or, in a pinch, regular thread. This works well if you have another pair of hands to help.
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and brown it in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels to be used as a garnish.
- Brown the cabbage rolls on two sides in the bacon fat.
- Add 1/2 cup beef broth (or enough to cover the pan to a depth of 1/4 inch), cover the pan with a lid and simmer 40 to 50 minutes, adding more of the remaining beef broth as necessary to keep the cabbage rolls in 1/4 to 1/2 inch of broth.
- Transfer the cabbage rolls to a warm serving dish and snip off the string. Add the ultra-set mixture to the juices in the pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour over cabbage rolls. Top with reserved bacon bits if desired.
- Serve with boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes.