Ladies, listen up. If you haven’t heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” then you may be in trouble. Well, you may not be doomed, but trust me- growing up with 3 brothers, I know men love to eat! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to eat? Based on my first 2 posts, clearly I DO…so please read on.
Lets get back on topic…my mom has drilled this philosophy into my head since the day I could pick up a fork. I’ll be celebrating my parent’s 36th wedding anniversary this weekend, and I can’t help but remember her story about their first date. She prepared a classic Ravitz family meal, that I’ve masterd by the way…a roasted chicken stuffed with rice (I will be posting about this one day). How cute, they were making out and forgot to check on the chicken roasting (I mean burning) in the oven. Luckily, she had 36 years to impress him through other meals. Present day, I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and he comes from a religious Jewish family. Note to self, “I will master the art of Jewish cooking.”
First up, a classic European dish: Stuffed Cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is ground meat rolled up into boiled cabbage leaves. I like to think of them as “little packages of love.” Once you roll up your packages, they steam in a sweet and sour sauce that can be created in multitude of ways. My mom has a secret combination that is so simple and delicious. It’s simply delicious! Here are my “packages of love” steaming away in their sauce: recipe to follow.
Packages of love:
2 heads of white cabbage
2 lbs of ground beef
½ cup of breadcrumbs
¼ cup of milk
½ tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon pepper
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon onion powder
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1 14 oz can jelly cranberry sauce (I prefer Ocean Spray)
1 12 oz jar chili sauce
Remove the center core of each head of cabbage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add one head of cabbage. Check on the cabbage after 10 minutes, the outer layers should be soft enough to start pulling off. Pull off one leaf at a time and set aside. The inner leaves will need to boil longer before you can remove them, so keep checking on the cabbage while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Meanwhile, dice the 2nd cabbage head so you have shredded leaves. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well and form into balls. I make about 10 meatballs with 2 lbs of meat, but you can make them as big or as small as you please. Make sure you have enough boiled cabbage leaves per ball and once you do, discard the cabbage and water from the pot.
Combine the jelly cranberry sauce and jar of chili sauce in the same pot over very low heat. This is crucial because if the heat is too high, your sauce will burn. Once the cranberry has melted, add the shredded cabbage leaves and cover. Cabbage is filled with moisture, so steaming the leaves in the sauce will create water. This is a good thing! Let the sauce and cabbage steam for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften.
While the cabbage is cooking, begin preparing the packages of love. Place one meatball in the center and fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage so the meatball is tightly packed inside. Place the packages of love, seam side down in the big pot and cover (still on very low heat). Allow the packages to simmer for 1 hour and then serve.