Showing posts with label Irish recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish recipes. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Beef and Smoked Sausage Cabbage Rolls #FoodieExtravaganza

Ground beef and smoked sausage cabbage rolls smothered in a rich tomato sauce are the perfect meal. Vegetables and protein, all in one neat and tasty package.

I’ve never done one of those DNA tests, but with one grandmother whose maiden name was Fleming, I always figured that I am at least one quarter Irish. And while most of the recipes I learned from that grandmother were of Cajun origin (Mo, as we called her, grew up in southern Louisiana after all) a few probably came more from her Irish heritage.

Her cabbage rolls, for instance. Definitely not a Cajun thing. The way I remember it, when I was growing up, my mom used to make cabbage rolls using both ground beef and pork because I’m pretty sure that’s how my grandmother used to make them as well. Mo was always one to mix meats. She would never cook a beef pot roast alone. She added a pork roast to the pot saying that together they made each other taste better.

All my life, that’s what I’ve always done too, until just the other day when I decided that smoked sausage would be an even better idea than plain ground pork in cabbage rolls. And since I was trying to go low carb when I made them, I also left out the traditional rice my mom and grandmother would have added. If you'd like, you can add a 1/2 cup or 50g of raw rice to the filling mixture. But I promise you won't miss it if you don't.

Beef and Smoked Sausage Cabbage Rolls

Back in the day, my mother and grandmother would have blanched the cabbage leaves in hot water to soften them. By accidentally freezing lettuce at the back of my too-cold refrigerator, I discovered that freezing them does the same magic with way less fuss and bother.

Ingredients - serves 4: 2 cabbage rolls each
For the rolls:
8 whole cabbage leaves

For the filling:
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 smoked sausage link (8 oz or 225g), cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic
2 large eggs
1 lb or 450g ground beef
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cayenne
Few generous grinds black pepper
Salt to taste
2 cabbage leaves, finely chopped (hard ribs removed and discarded)
Optional: 1/2 cup or 50g uncooked rice

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 cup or 120ml dry red wine
4 cups or 1 kg canned chopped tomatoes with their juice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Parsley to garnish

Put the whole cabbage leaves in the freezer to soften them.

Pulse the sausage chunks, quartered onion and garlic cloves in a food processor till they are turned into small pieces.

Add in the two eggs and pulse again until just combined. In a large bowl, combine the sausage/egg with the ground beef. Season with the two peppers and mix well.

Fry a couple of teaspoons of the mixture in a small pan. Taste and add more pepper, if necessary. I put more cayenne because we like things spicy. Here’s where you can add some salt if needed as well. My smoked sausage added enough saltiness to the mixture for my taste. You may want more.

Add in the finely chopped cabbage (and optional rice if using) and mix well again. Chill the filling while you get the sauce ready to go.

In a pan big enough to eventually hold 8 cabbage rolls, sauté the garlic and the anchovies in the olive oil until the garlic softens and the anchovies turn to mush. Sprinkle in the paprika, cumin and fennel.

 Give it all a quick stir then add the wine. Pour in the chopped tomatoes. Bring the pan to a boil and then lower it to a simmer. Sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes with the lid removed. Add in the baking soda. Stir till the bubbles stop. Adding baking soda to a tomato sauce was a trick I learned from an Italian mama. It sweetens the sauce slightly by reacting with (and reducing) the natural acidity of the tomatoes.

Pop the lid back on and turn the fire off while you stuff your cabbage.

Remove the cabbage leaves from the freezer. As they thaw, they should be soft and pliable.

Use a sharp knife to cut out the hard ribs in the middle and discard them. Stuff the cabbage leaves with the filling, folding the leaves around it.

Fit the cabbage rolls into the sauce pan.

Spoon sauce over the tops. Put the lid of the pan on and cook over a low fire for about 50-60 minutes. Check from time to time and add a little water if the sauce looks like it's drying out.

My grandmother never considered a dish finished without some parsley for garnish. Sprinkle on a little chopped parsley before serving.


This month my Foodie Extravaganza friends are celebrating National Irish Food Day, or National "Eat Like an Irishman" Day (March 17th) early, by cooking and sharing Irish recipes. Many thanks to our host Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories for her behind the scenes work and this fun theme.

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays by posting delicious recipes your family will love. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a home cook looking for tasty recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board!

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