Every fall I plant broccoli. It does quite well in pots on my patio – container gardening is a trade off in the city for a nicely landscaped yard. In New Orleans transplants are generally available in early October, with harvest right around Thanksgiving. I was a bit surprised to find transplants at a big box garden center in early September. I decided to gamble on an early planting, perhaps getting a long season of side shoots if they could make it through our hot weather.
The transplants thrived, with lush, healthy green leaves. In fact, they seemed a lot fuller than usual. I was puzzled that no heads had emerged by mid November. Had the hot weather caused some problems? The leaves grew smaller and tighter, then one day I felt something hard in the middle. It then dawned on me…I wasn’t growing broccoli but cabbage!
I have nine heads of cabbage just in time for the New Year. Luckily they store well, to give me a chance to find some interesting and different ways to cook this humble vegetable. In the meantime, here is a tried and true favorite.
Georgie’s Cabbage Rolls
- 8 large cabbage leaves
- 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 14-1/2 ounces can Italian stewed tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- Cook cabbage in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender; drain.
- In a large saucepan, saute 1 cup onion in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, remaining onion, beef, Worcestershire sauce, and ¼ cup tomato mixture. Mix well.
- Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in a skillet. Top with the sauce.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 1 hour.
Yield: 4 servings