Cabbage Rolls

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Cabbage Rolls
shared at the event by Kevin & Marla

recipe courtesy of Graham Kerr

1 large head green cabbage (9-10 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon non-aromatic olive oil
2 cups finely chopped sweet onions
4 cloves garlic, bashed and chopped
6-ounces leanest ground beef (9%)
6-ounces ground white meat turkey
¼ cup raw long grain white rice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
¼ cup beef broth
¼ teaspoon dried dill weed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 ½ cups tomato puree
1 ½ cups beef broth
¼ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried dill weed
¼ teaspoon caraway seed
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water (slurry.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C.) Spray a 9”x13” (23x33cm) baking pan. Fill a large pan with water, cover and bring to a boil. Carve the core out of the cabbage and place in the boiling water to cook, covered. for 10 minutes. Take out of the boiling water and plunge into a bowl of cold water to cool.

2. Heat the oil in a chef’s pan on medium high. Drop the onions into the hot pan and cook 3 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Place half the onion garlic mixture in a large bowl. Leave the rest in the pan to make the sauce. Combine the ground beef and turkey, rice, tomato puree, broth, dill weed, salt, pepper, and parsley with the onion mixture in the bowl.

3. Pour the tomato puree, broth, brown sugar, vinegar, pepper, dill weed, caraway, and bay leaves into the pan with the reserved onion and garlic and simmer while you make the rolls, about 15 minutes.

4. Drain the cabbage and separate12 of the largest cabbage leaves without tearing. Cut out the center heavy rib from each leaf leaving a shallow v shape. Spread out on the kitchen bench. Divide the filling among the leaves (a heaping tablespoon is about right). Overlap the sides where you removed the stems, fold over the sides first and then roll to completely enclose the filling.

5. Set them side by side in the prepared pan and pour the sauce over all, lay a piece of foil on top. Bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake ½ hour longer.

6. Divide the cabbage rolls among 6 warm plates. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and thicken with the arrowroot slurry. Spoon over the waiting rolls.

Classically a broad buttered noodle would be served but I prefer a mashed potato spiked with horseradish and a broiled half beef steak tomato.


To continue on with Paczki-Palooza, we got to fry and fill our own packzi. Paczki are traditional Polish doughnuts The fillings included plum butter, rose petal jelly (a traditional filling made with fried rose petals), raspberry, blueberry, custard & “boozy” custard.

Traditionally, the reason for making paczki has been to use up all the lard, sugar & fruit in the house, which are given up during the religious season of Lent. Paczkis are eaten especially on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Lent… but over the years, it had been a treat eaten on Fat Tuesday. Here are pics of the Paczki making event:

Paczki dough that has finished proofing:
The glorious globes bobbing in the hot oil:They’re turned twice until a golden brown color is reached:
Hot finished paczkis, straight out of the fryer to cool:Not quite perfect paczkis… see the difference?The fun jelly filler machines that contain flavors such as
plum jelly, rose petal jelly, raspberry, blueberry, apricot & custard:
Colleen was brave enough to tackle the filling machine:Filled Packzis!We also filled cooled paczki with “boozy” custard.
The custard has some alcohol mixed in to cut the sweetness.
For these, the packzi has to be filled by hand

My favorite filling of them all is the
fresh strawberry & whipped cream paczkis.
Chef Dobra uses fresh strawberries,
mixed into a strawberry gel and whipped cream.

The paczkis are sliced in half,
given a ring of whipped cream on the edges
and fresh strawberry filling is placed in the center
before topping it with the second half.

To finish them strawberry & cream paczkis off,
a nice dusting of powdered sugar sweetens the deal…
done by Stacey:

Here’s my box of paczki I took home…
Happy Fat Tuesday!

All in the name of Chrus-ciki!

In honor of Fat Tuesday, I attended a “Paczki-Palooza” of sorts! Thanks to Chef Dobra and her family at Delightful Pastries, we helped make chrusciki crueller cookies and fried our own paczki, glazed and filled them.
Delightful Pastries
5927 W. Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60630

The following are pics of the chrustciki making event:

Chef Dobra talking about the chrusciki dough
which has orange & lemon oils, sour cream
and even alcohol mixed in!

The tool that we deemed as the
chrusciki “doo-dad” or “thingamajigger”
It was a special piece Chef Dobra received from
a family member and is over 50 years old!
The chrusciki or “angel wings” ready for the fryer:Let’s get frying!

Chef Dobra checking the finished chrusciki:
Dusting them with powdered sugar
while slightly cooled:
Behold… the beauty of Chrusciki!

You Never Leave Hungry From Polish Village!

Did you know that Chicago has the largest ethnically Polish population outside the Poland capital of Warsaw?! Today I hosted my monthly Ethnic Food Tours and we headed to the “Polish Village” neighborhood for a culinary trip to Eastern European eats & treats. We started with a hearty all you can eat buffet lunch at the legendary Red Apple Restaurant. The buffet offerings were definitely plenitful with lots of Polish specialties such as stuffed cabbage, various kinds of pierogies, blintzzes, potato and apple pancakes, saurkraut, and so many sausages! Here are pics of the buffet – which in fact was so big it had to be split into 2 rooms! (Forgive the awful red glow of the buffet heat lamps…)After letting our lunch settle and a cup of coffee to help wake us up from our food coma, we took a walk to Wally’s International Market. There, we walked the aisles full of polish and eastern european ingredients and foodstuff. I love shopping at ethnic markets & grocery stores for the simple fact that the quality of food is not only great, but so are the low prices.The busiest part of the store was definitely the sausage counter. The line was ridiculously long and I’ve never seen so many sausages hanging from the ceilings and in the deli case. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the sausage counter since it was so crowded and I felt a little awkward & touristy doing so… but here are pics of a sausage case right in front of the check out lines.