Here is the story of I came up with this meal. One night I was laying in bed thinking about what was going to be for dinner tomorrow. (This has been my best strategy of late. Planning dinner in bed the night before. It has really been working for me! I have time to mull over my options, think about what we have available, toy with a few different ideas... I can get out of bed to soak beans if I have to, or plan to soak them right when I get up... I can even make a last minute run to the store the next day if I need/ want to!)
The next day as I was planning my approach to this meal, I called my MIL to get her hog maw stuffing recipe (which really comes from her mom...) Basically, it's onions, potatoes and beef sausage all mixed together. Okay. But I only have ground beef. Must find beef sausage recipe.
Online I found a page with all kinds of beef sausage recipes. I didn't really like any of them better than the others, so I used them as a basis and came up with my own seasoning recipe.
On to the sauce. Will I use a tomato sauce in which to cook the cabbage? Yes. Basic spaghetti sauce recipe.
Hog Maw Inspired Cabbage Rolls
1 lb ground beef
2 medium white or red potatoes
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1+ tsp. salt
3/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp mace (if you don't have it, just leave it out, or use 1-2 shakes nutmeg)
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
24-28 oz crushed tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
Cube the potatoes (1/2 inch cubes). Dice the onion (small dice). Mix first 10 ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil. Press or dice garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep tomato sauce warmed on the stove. Assemble cabbage rolls: put about 1/8- 1/4 cup of the meat/potato mixture into the cabbage leaf. Roll it up and put it in a 9x13 pan. Repeat until the mix is gone and the pan is full. Spoon sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 300* for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Cabbage rolls are special because there is no way to get uniform ones! Some of mine were really tiny and some were huge! I just tried to fit as many in a row as possible and then when space got cramped in the pan I wedged them wherever I could.
My kids and my husband all gave this recipe rave reviews. I will DEFINITELY be making this again!