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5 Things I Wish I Knew the First Time I Made Cabbage Rolls

Canadian Lady's Journey

In my family, cabbage rolls have been a staple at each family dinner. Though my immediate family is fairly small, grandma always made sure to have the cabbage rolls prepared and ready to enjoy! So this year, as the holidays approached, I decided that I would bring forth the classic cabbage roll.

*Side note... I have a terrible habit of getting myself in to things that are way above my pay grade, if you catch my drift. Over-the-top birthday cakes, pastry dishes, and now cabbage rolls. Though I much enjoy the art of the culinary world, there are certain projects that I take on, which cause extreme stress and at least one break down during the entire length of the cooking process.

I am certainly no chef, and although cabbage rolls seem fairly simple at first glance, there are a few pieces of information I wish I knew then as I found myself standing in the kitchen, cursing myself for volunteering to make the cabbage rolls for this year's Christmas dinner. So before I go ahead and waste any more time, here are five things I wish I had known the first time I made cabbage rolls: 

1) Take the time and use a crock pot!

It is legitimately half the work and the end result is a much softer, moist, and delicious roll. I find that when cooking cabbage rolls in the oven, the moisture evaporates and the leaves don't have enough time to really soften. Here's a recipe I like to follow (I use ground pork instead of beef!)

2) Add 1/4 cup tomato juice to the raw filling.

It helps to plump the rice without drying the meat out. (This trick works for cooking it in the crock-pot and oven). Most recipes call to add an egg to your filling, but I don't notice much of a difference without one when cooked in the crock pot.

3) Stay away from dried herbs.

Fresh dill and parsley give an element to the dish that can not be achieved with dried herbs. After making the mistake of using dried herbs once, I will never, ever settle for dried.

4) Smaller cabbage heads = better, tighter rolls.

When you find smaller cabbages, you won't have to worry about the thick stem piece on each leaf when rolling it up. If you do find yourself stuck with a thick stemmy cabbage, try cutting a "V" shape, or slicing the stem in half.

5) Don't be afraid to spice it up!

Cabbage rolls are an age old dish, and although they are traditional and delicious the way they are, it never hurts to add a little pzazz! (My favourite addition is the Clubhouse Garlic Plus spice, I literally add it to everything).

There you have it! Five things I wish I knew the first time I attempted making cabbage rolls. Don't forget, you may have trouble executing the cabbage roll the first time... so turn it in to a cabbage roll casserole! It tastes super yummy and no one will ever know your original intent! Hopefully for you, this list won't be the only saving grace you have for your dish.

Please remember that it's okay if you don't agree with my ideas; that's what is so wonderful about cooking... it's completely interchangeable! Also remember, use a crock pot! It will save your mind, time, and cabbage rolls from drying out. If you must use the oven, opt for less grease-filled ingredients and more liquid for the rolls to sit in. Beef broth mixed with tomato juice is a great addition to a delicious batch of cabbage rolls.

Thanks for stopping by and happy cooking!!

Katie, the Canadian Lady.

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