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Belinda Grams | Pedernales EC

Cultures find comfort in various ways, and Grams avows the following dish as “a truly savory, truly authentic German casserole.” The recipe traveled from northern Germany with her great-grandmother, Hattie Elsa Pfeiffer Keidel, and first appeared in the PTA Fredericksburg Home Kitchen Cookbook in 1916. Consider serving the hearty, meat-filled rolls with German-fried potatoes made with bacon, onion and green pepper.

Cabbage Rolls
1 small cabbage
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, softened with as much water as they will absorb
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened to room temperature

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 egg yolk

1. Cabbage Rolls: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Separate larger cabbage leaves; core and quarter smaller center. Place the leaves in boiling water 2–3 minutes, then remove from heat and let them stand 5–10 minutes (reserve liquid).

3. Rinse leaves in cold water and drain. Combine the beef and pork with the breadcrumbs, eggs, milk and seasonings.

4. Coat an 8-by-8-inch casserole with butter.

5. Place about 1/3 cup of meat mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf and wrap into a snug bundle; place the bundle seam-side down in the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining meat and cabbage leaves. Cover the dish with foil and bake 75 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake 15–20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender, basting occasionally with cooking juices. Invert the stuffed rolls onto a platter, reserving the liquid. Tent cabbage rolls with foil or place in oven at low heat to keep warm.

6. Sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the flour and enough of the reserved liquid (cooking juices and cabbage water) to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; whisk in egg yolk and pour the mixture over the cabbage rolls.

Serves 4.

Cook’s Tip

To make a deconstructed version, layer cabbage leaves and the meat mixture in a buttered slow cooker and cook on high 4 hours.