Food From Friends, Meat & Poultry

Yield: 8 or more servings

2 large heads of cabbage
3 pounds flanken (short ribs)
2 tbsp. oil
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
3 large onions, sliced
1 large can of tomato paste
1 cup hot water (approximately)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. sour salt (citric acid)

Put cabbage in plastic bags and place in the freezer overnight. Take out several hours before using. Cabbage will wilt and it will be easier to roll. Leaves will not need to be cooked or steamed in advance. Take off the dark green leaves. Use the rest for other cabbage dishes (e.g., cole slaw or steamed cabbage). Turn each leaf over and carefully slice the thick vein parallel to the leaf. (This makes them more flexible and easier to roll.)

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot , brown the flanken on low heat in a little oil. Meanwhile, mix the ground beef with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Take about 1/4 cup of meat mixture and roll it into an oval. Place in the middle of the cabbage leaf and fold over sides of leaf. Bring up the bottom of the leaf and roll up very tightly. If you have sliced off the vein, you won’t need string or toothpicks to hold it together.

Place cabbage rolls in a layer over the flanken. When you have a tightly packed layer, add 1/3 of the sliced onions and 1/3 of the tomato paste. Repeat until cabbage leaves are used up. You should have leftover ground beef. Make small meatballs and add to pot. End with the onions and tomato paste. Add a cup of hot water. Sprinkle with sugar and sour salt, cover pan and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours, or until everything is cooked and tender.

Remove the cabbage and meatballs to a serving dish or a freezer-safe container. Remove bones from flanken and discard. Cut meat into serving size pieces, trim off any fat and add to cabbage rolls. Taste the sauce and adjust with either sugar or sour salt. (Add sour salt sparingly.)

Pour sauce over cabbage rolls and either freeze or serve. (If you freeze it first, you can remove the hardened fat.)