June 10, 2009

Easy Holubki (Stuffed Cabbage) Casserole


Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, we got used to eating various ethnic dishes. It was common for folks to cook German one night, Polish or Lithuanian, another. Other nationalities' recipes were also quite popular. But today, I'm talking about a family favorite - Holubki, or Lithuanian stuffed cabbage rolls (the Poles call it golabki). My mom always made them in the pressure cooker. When I was a young bride back in the day, I also made them in the Presto pressure cooker without any ill results.

But in this go 'round as June, I seem to have forgotten how the silly thing works. I tried stuffed cabbage rolls (recipe from memory); they fell apart. I tried pork chops; they burned. I put the pan and lid away, and gave up the thought of quick, nutritious meals made with that darned pan.

But the desire for the stuffed cabbage remained. Today, I thought I'd give it a go...my way.

After all, I had half a pound of Italian sausage and an equal amount of ground beef to use up (left over from the Crescent Lasagna), and half a head of cabbage that would meet the trash can if I didn't use it in a day or two.

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
1 T minced garlic
1 stick butter
4 C thinly sliced cabbage
1 chopped onion
1 pkg of onion soup mix
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 C uncooked instant rice
1 1/2 C water
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, brown the sausage, beef and garlic. Drain off the fat. Put the meat in a large mixing bowl. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the cabbage and onion, saute until the cabbage and onions begin to turn translucent. Put everything in the mixing bowl and give it a good stir, making sure you get the tomato paste to mix in with the water, and that there are no onion soup mix lumps.

Put the whole mess in a 9 x 13 pan, and cover it with foil Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Voila, dinner is done!

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