When my husband heard the word cabbage mentioned in the same sentence as dinner, I could see he was quite sceptical. I’m glad he did actually enjoy the end result though, and has eaten the leftovers for separate meals since too. There are two variations of this very Finnish food. Stuffed cabbage leaf rolls, and a casserole, where the ingredients are layered in an oven casserole dish, and baked in the oven. The rolls require more work , and the casserole is easier to make. I normally make the casserole, but wanted to try the rolls this time. You would normally use white cabbage, however I wanted to try whether savoy cabbage would work. In terms of flavor it was absolutely fine, however I think white cabbage leaves will work better for the rolls as the savoy cabbage leaves are more fragile, therefore more difficult to use.
1 white cabbage
salt, 2 tsp per 1 litre of water, used for cooking the cabbage
250g mince beef
1 tsp salt
a splash of white pepper
1/2 dl uncooked rice, cook in 2 dl water
cooking liquid of the cabbage
2 dl cooking liquid of the cabbage
2 dl beef stock
2 tbsp plain flour
1. Use a knife to cut out the hard core of the cabbage. Boil in salted water until the leaves soften. Take the cabbage out of the water and drain. remove the leaves on at a time, then let cool. Shred / finely chopped the small inside leaves, as they will be used in the stuffing. Keep the cooking liquid.
2. Cook the rice, rinse with cold water and let drain. Mix the cooked rice, raw mince beef, finely chopped cabbage, spices and egg together. Add 1/2-1 dl of the cooking liquid.
3. Put a bit of the stuffing on the cabbage leaves. Turn the end of the leaf over the stuffing, then the sides, and roll.
4. Melt some butter in a pan, and fry the cabbage rolls until browned. Add some cooking liquid to the pan, cover with a lid a let cook for about 30 minutes.
5. Measure the cooking liquid and beef stock in a pan. Mix the flour separately with additional 1/2 dl of the cooking liquid, and stir until fully mixed with no lumps. Pour into the pan. Cook, stirring. Check taste and season if necessary.
6. The cabbage rolls are typically served with lingonberry jam. On this occasion, however, I’ve served them with my father’s homemade rowan berry jam.