Cabbage Rolls Around

The weeks sure seem to roll around, don’t they?!

Here at St. Anne’s, every fifth Thursday brings a dinner menu cherished by some but not appreciated by others: cabbage rolls.

There are many variations to this multinational entrée, but here at St. Anne’s, our cooks serve the cream style (using cream of chicken soup) rather than the tomato option.  Here, the hamburger is mixed with rice, and then formed and wrapped in cabbage.  The cream sauce goes delicious, too, with the mash potatoes that always accompany cabbage rolls here at St. Anne’s.

Eastern European traditions (Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Lithuanian, etc.) seem to be the forerunners in bringing us what we know as cabbage rolls today.  However, perhaps the earliest instance of these taste treats may come from Jewish cuisine about 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps the variations we know today, even within our own region and country, stem from the rich diversity in how cabbage rolls were prepared around the world.  For example, in Bulgaria, they were made with veal and pork, accompanied by minced mint, yogardt, and sweet paprika.  In Romania, they were a treat for special celebrations and were made of ground pork with caramelized onions and rice.  Sometimes, pickled sauerkraut leaves were even used.

In Croatia, cabbage rolls are a Christmas treat.  Lithuanian cabbage rolls, on the other hand, were a harvest-time menu item, made with brown sugar, lemon, tomato, and even raisins.

In Poland, cabbage leaves are stuffed with meat (beef or pork) mixed with rice or barley and usually accompanied by a tomato sauce.  Polish immigrants brought this meal with them from the old country.

Finland and even Egypt are also home to cabbage rolls.

IMG_0555.JPGHere at St. Anne’s, our staff usually prepare the cabbage rolls the day before.  By fairly early Thursday morning, they are already in the oven.

Can you smell them already?  Come on over! 🙂