Monday, March 14, 2016

Reuben Cabbage Rolls

For me, one of the best things about St. Patrick's Day is the leftovers. I love a good corned beef sandwich on rye with some grainy mustard. Or better yet, a reuben sandwich.

But when I was a kid, St. Patrick's Day also meant that mom was likely to make her stuffed cabbage rolls, otherwise known as golumbki. It had nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with the fact that bigger cabbages were available at the stores at that time.

I don't know why I didn't think of it before - but why not combine the two - why not make cabbage rolls that taste like reuben sandwiches?

Once I had the idea stuck in my head, I couldn't get rid of it. I fiddled around with a few different ideas before I settled on one that thought made the most sense.

Like any recipe of this type, you can certainly change amounts and proportions to suit your own taste.

Reuben Cabbage Rolls

3 cups chopped or shredded cooked corned beef
1 pound sauerkraut, drained
8 ounces swiss cheese, grated (divided)
8 large cabbage leaves*
 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste.
Rye bread, cut into small croutons and toasted in butter
Thousand Island dressing, for serving

*The easiest way to harvest the cabbage leaves is to steam a whole cabbage. The outer leaves will begin to cook and soften, making them easier to peel off and also makes it easier to make the rolls. Peel off as many leaves as you'll need, then peel off any leaves that are cooked, stopping when you reach a point where the rest of the cabbage is uncooked. Set that aside for other uses.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour. Cook for a minute or two, then add the milk. Bring to a boil and let ti cook for another minute to thicken. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the cheese in hand fulls, stirring to melt the cheese into the sauce after each addition. Turn the heat off. Taste and add salt and pepper, as desired. Set aside.

Combine the corned beef, sauerkraut, and 4 ounces of swiss cheese in a bowl. Stir to combine.

One at a time, put a scoop of the corned beef mixture onto a cabbage leaf and roll up to make a neat package.

Cut up any additional par-cooked cabbage leaves into a medium dice and place them in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the finished cabbage rolls on top. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls.

Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 2 hours or until the mixture is bubbling, the inside of the rolls are hot.

Serve the cabbage rolls topped with rye croutons, with Thousand Island dressing on the side.