Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Frugal Gourmet Returns

I may be only 29 but I sure do remember the Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith. I remember seeing him on TV occasionally but mostly I remember his cook books. The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors: Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome. My parents owned both of these and made several recipes from them. The one I can remember the most is stuffed cabbage. I always remember it being this time consuming meal that my mother would have to start early. Now that I have made it a couple of times for my family it really is not so bad to make. Yeah boiling the cabbage and waiting for it to cool so you can gently pull the leaves off and stuffing about 24 rolls then letting them simmer for 50 minuets seems time consuming but it isn't a labor consuming.

With cabbage growing the garden it's either cole slaw or stuffed cabbage. I really need to build on my cabbage recipe knowledge. When I made the recipe last I was try to decide if I wanted to use the crock pot or channel my inner Jeff Smith and make it "like my Grandmother" did. I did end up making it the Frugal Gourmet recipe version. 

Polish Stuffed Cabbage

For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups converted rice
2 cups water
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 3/4 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
salt and pepper to taste
For the Cabbage
3 medium heads winter cabbage
For the Sauce
3 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

To Prepare the Filling
Place the rice in a small pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then drain the excess water. Heat a frying pan and add the oil, garlic, and onion. Saute until the onion is transparent. Stir in the parsley and allow the mixture to cool. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the cooled rice and onion mixture. Ass salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare and Fill the Cabbage Leaves
Cut out the cores of the cabbage with a paring knife. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a bit of salt. Add the cored cabbages, one head at a time and blanch for 5 minutes. Place in a colander and carefully pull off 24 of the largest, best looking leaves, 1 at a time. Rinse with cold water, just as soon as you pull each one from the head. Place 1/3 cup of the filling in the center of each leaf and roll it up, foling the ends so that have a nice bundle. Place the stuffed leaves in a 10 to 12 quart stove top cover casserole. Be sure that they are packed rather tightly together. Place some of the leftover leaves on the top.  
To Prepare the Sauce and Cook
Mix the tomato sauce and vinegar together and pour over the contents of the pot. Add boiling water to just barely cover the rolled leaves.
 Bring to a boil slowly over medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes, or until all is tender. Do not over cook.
I think my mother still has these cook books and I may have to borrow them to perhaps make another recipe from the Frugal Gourmet Past. Enjoy!!


  1. I haven't had cabbage rolls in forever. Thanks for sharing and bringing back some memories!

  2. The way back machine is turned up to 11. I am sure I had forgetten the Frugal Gourmet, but that is what foodie friends are for.

    I think I might have had this dish when I was a kid, seem to remember some polish friends who liked to share their culture.


  3. My mom always used to go to cabbage leaves to stuff instead of the grape leaves that are the Armenian standard. She said they ended up so much more tender once cooked. Yours look wonderful. Thanks for passing it along.

  4. This is a good recipe from Jeff Smith's, The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors. I halved it and used all pork, since that is what I had in the house and it turned out great. I also used 1 savoy cabbage, instead of more common winter cabbage. Since I halved it, I used a deep skillet, instead of a deep pot to cook them.

    Most cabbage roll recipes I have made or had made for me, in the past always seemed like they were missing something and were kind of blah, but this one was right on. The vinegar added to the tomato sauce in the recipe gave it a nice zip. I did add a little garlic powder to the tomato sauce too. Once the cabbage rolls were done, I took them out of the sauce, put them on a meat platter and then thickened the tomato sauce with a a heaping T of corn starch mixed with a little water, then poured it over the cabbage rolls on the meat platter. Turned out fantastic. The pictures you have uploaded are true to form.


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