Food for Sukkot

Sukkot celebrates the final gathering of the harvest before the winter. Meals are served in the Sukkah, an outdoor structure with a leafy roof partly open to the sky. The Sukkah symbolizes the temporary shelters in which our ancestors lived during their 40 years in the desert.

The agricultural theme is celebrated by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Stuffed vegetables (cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, peppers) are served for Sukkot. Kreplach and kugels, challah and strudels – these are a few of my favorite things!.

Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are the culmination of the High Holy Days. On Shemini Atzeret, the 8th day of Sukkot, it is customary to eat in the Sukkah. On Simchat Torah, we resume eating our meals indoors. Cabbage rolls are often served for Simchat Torah, because their cylindrical shape symbolizes the shape of the scrolls of the Torah.

Thanks to Esther Schwartz, Toronto kosher food expert, for sharing this delicious recipe which is perfect for Sukkot!

Jews all over the world make stuffed cabbage leaves, although the names and recipes vary. They are “galuptze” from Russia, “holishkes” from Eastern Europe, “sarmali” from Romania and “dolmas” from Armenia.

1 loose head cabbage (5 lb./2.25 kg)

2 lb./0.9 kg lean ground chuck
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp./5 ml salt
1/2 tsp./2 ml pepper
1/2 cup/125 ml stock or water
2 tsp./10 ml prepared mustard
1/4 cup/50 ml ketchup
1 tsp./5 ml HP sauce
1/2 cup/125 ml long grain rice (raw)

1 (28 oz./796 ml) can tomatoes
2 (312 grams/11 oz.) cans tomato mushroom sauce
1/2 cup/125 ml sugar Twin (brown sugar replacement)
juice of one lemon (1/4 cup/50 ml)

Place cabbage in a plastic bag in freezer at least 2 days in advance. Remove from freezer the night before you intend to make cabbage rolls. Remove from bag and place in colander in sink. In the morning, core cabbage. Leaves will separate easily. Dry with paper towels.

Combine all stuffing ingredients; mix well. Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture near stem end of each leaf. Fold stem end over filling, then fold in the sides; roll up firmly.

Combine sauce ingredients. Shred the core and any leftover cabbage. In a Dutch oven, place a layer of cabbage, a layer of cabbage rolls (seam-side-down), tightly packed, then a layer of sauce. Repeat until all is used. Simmer gently for 2 hours on top of stove tightly covered.

Preheat oven to 275°F. Sprinkle with paprika. Place in oven uncovered. Bake 2 hours. Freezes well.

Makes 30
One cabbage roll is 1 protein choice, 1/2 starchy choice, 8 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein, 3 grams fat. 91 calories.