Friday, January 9, 2009

Another "Chef John is Traveling" Rerun: Cabbage Rolls a Mother Knows Best

Hello from freezing western New York. It looks like I'm probably not going to have time or the opportunity to film any video recipes while I'm here, but here is a winter classic that I'm posting along with an important update to the procedure.

My mother had some amazing cabbage rolls waiting for Michele and me upon our arrival. As we ate I could tell by the look in my wife's eyes she was thinking, "yours are good, but these are better." When you've been together as long as we have, you can actually read each others minds.

After a brief conversation it was discovered that while I use the same ingredients as mom, she cooks hers an additional hour. This explained the extra tender filling, and even sweeter, more tender cabbage. So, here is my cabbage roll recipe video (inspired by my Aunt's recipe - you can read that original post here, and get the ingredients) and as you watch please take note the cooking time is not 2, but 3 hours. Thanks mom. Enjoy!

Update to the Update! After further discussions with my mother, and my aunt who I credited with the recipe, it seems that I'm using several ingredients not officially sanctioned by the family elders. Apparently they don't use Parmesan or egg in the mixture, and it been "suggested" that if I continue using those ingredients I should stop telling people it's their recipe!

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chef,
I think you miss the cold, the salt potatoes, the Cornell chichen, and the Friday fish frys from good old NYS...lol.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John!
I'm from Viet Nam. I want to say thank you so much by all your cooking videos. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

You used tarragon mustard in 2 of your recent recipes, so OF COURSE I had to get some...
We don't have a Whole Foods here so I enlisted my sis in Marin to go over to San Rafael to get some for me. Of course they did not have THAT flavor although they did have others of that brand.They suggested she got up to Novato or Santa Rosa but she decided to try United. They carried it but of course were OUT! She called for store help and the manager dug WAY in the back & found TWO jars hidden behind the other types.SO....see what watching your videos have driven me to???? enlisting all manner of help from family, friends & strangers!
Again-Thanks for the vids.
Luisa Vacaville

Not on Wordless Wednesday... said...

Comment:
Recipes calling for "exotic" or uncommon ingredients often discourage many from trying it, for fear of ruining a dish. Not using the exact ingredients can lead to a loss of money and time, not to mention disappointment, and decreased confidence in skills, so I particularly admire Chef John's explaining substitutions and his encouragement to "personalize" his recipes to one's liking. I also like it when he explains how to tweak one ingredient to make it resemble the one he's using, when it's obviously some may have difficulty finding it, or in some cases, just flat out saying there is no substitute - so stop now if you can't or won't use it. His (www) videos are seen in many countries, and I think it is relevant that substitute ingredients are recommended when possible.

Question:
Chef John, is there a technique to making regular yellow mustard into a tarragon flavored dijon?

(BTW my wordy comment should not necessarily indicate I am a lawyer or work for the government!)

Anonymous said...

Should we assume your mother and aunt have more Italian sounding maiden names then the sir name you carry? Just what IS your heritage?

Chef John said...

yes they have. I'm 50% Italian 25% each Polish and Russian

Chef John said...

thanks for the long comment! you can certainly make regular dijon into tarragon dijon, but not sure if yellow mustard can make a decent Dijon.

Bill W, NH said...

Having company this evening and will make the cabbage rolls, can't wait to try them.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to clarify that I did make the salmon cakes with regular dijon and that was very good but I liked it so much that I was intrigued enough to search out (or have my minions search out) the tarragon dijon. Now I will try it again. The only thing I did not like was that I used an inferior type of canned salmon so that will have to be upgraded.
Hope you & Michelle are having fun on the East Coast! It's been 68 degrees here....
Luisa Vacaville

the M-I-L said...

Oh, No!
Luisa, you know, in New York, the term "my computer froze" has a much different meaning than we are accustomed to experiencing, so you weren't supposed to let on about the "perfect" weather in Northern California.

Chef John's wife's maiden name translates to "cold hands," and no matter the amount of "fun" and "warm fellowship," that she is having while visiting his wonderful family, I am fairly certain, in the days remaining of their trip, when the forecast is for below zero temperatures, this will convince him to only suggest his wife accompany him to his home in NY, during warmer months.

Jairus said...

is it just me or did i not see parmesan in this recipe that u speak of

Bill W, NH said...

Everfything went as planned and we, plus company, had the dish last night. Rave reviews from all!!! I did cook the full 3 hours and found that I really liked the outcome, sort of a high quality light sausage, very European, wonderful.

Anonymous said...

No, it LOOKED like parmesan but was basmati rice. Recipe ingred are listed under March 29, 2007.
Luisa Vacaville

Anonymous said...

No, it LOOKED like parmesan but was basmati rice. Recipe ingred are listed under March 29, 2007.
Luisa Vacaville

scallywag said...

jeez, chef john your families rough... although my mom does freak out when i change some of her recipes around

Chick said...

I made this recipe last night & it was fabulous! I used less butter...but it came out brilliantly. I used my thousand (nearly) year old cast iron pot & that made it taste extra good.

Thanks you for your video...it made it all so clear for me. Yum.

Chick said...

& you were right about only using the freshest parsley...it made all the difference in the world.

Joanna said...

Hi Chef John! (It's weird. I wanted to say "Hi John", but it just doesn't have the same ring to it. Just couldn't do it!)

I just made these tonight and my goodness, they were WONDERFUL. All the prep, all the cooking time, and the excruciating period of thumb twiddling during the last minutes while the cabbage rolls rested was completely worth it when we finally sat down and dined on the amazing dish. I've never made cabbage rolls but have fond memories of our close family friend making them for our family since I was practically a baby and these are definitely something I've grown up with and adored. I had SO much fun making these and even though I just finished dinner just minutes ago, I'm ready to make another batch already! Sometimes cooking can feel like a chore but making these was definitely the highlight of my day :)


Sadly I don't have a Dutch oven so I had to place the cabbage rolls as a single layer in a few baking dishes. It still turned out wonderfully, and it's definitely made me put a mental note down to look for a really nice Dutch oven. I admit I used a touch less salt than the recipe (I think I'm weary of the amount of salt in my diet lately) but I'll definitely use the full amount next time. That amount of salt divided by all the people eating ended up as nothing, really, so that was my mistake! All the wonderful flavours still made up for the less salt though! So yummy! (Though I did salt the onions. Very wise words!)

Sorry for the lengthy comments. I've been a lurker for quite a while now; I love your website and all of your videos and this is the first time I was able to finally try one of your recipes so I just had to rave :) Now my only problem now is what to make next. So many choices!

Oh and before I forget, my boyfriend told me he tried your method of making prime rib but tried it with roast beef and said it came out perfectly! I'm keeping my eyes open for the perfect opportunity to try your method now :)

Chef John said...

Thanks! You made my day! :-)

NANEKI said...

Wow! Just finished having dinner with my hubby, and boy are we impressed with the way my Pane di Granoturco, & the Stuffed Cabbage roll came out for dinner today, Mahalo so much for these recipes Pleas keep up the good work....I will definitely share these recipes & your web site.
Sincerely Nancy

Anonymous said...

I just saw this recipe and am eager to try it out. Is this something than can be done in a slow cooker in lieu of the dutch oven?

Chef John said...

probably, but ive never tried. I don't have a SC.

maitino said...

Am I the only one who cant see the ingredients?

maitino said...

Sorry! Found them. Jumped to recipe without reading.

maitino said...

Sorry! Found them. Jumped to recipe without reading.

Stu Bidass said...

These look awesome. Later this week I plan to make a batch. I am pretty much a "noob" to the whole cooking thing, and therefore ask if I can freeze these? Can I freeze them after I make them for cooking later? Or cook first and then freeze? Thanks for any reply.

Chef John said...

i believe they freeze better after being cooked and cooled

Paulius M. said...

you know what I do?
i put the cabbage roll in a flour and bake it for few minutes on both sides so there's no chance for them to "release", if you know what I mean. sorry for my bad english, i am from lithuania.
are there any more visitors from my country? if u check the statistics... ;)

NANEKI said...

So happy for your videos, it was much easier watching how this dish was done, I made some of this cabbage and it was absolutely fabulous.Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your recipes, they are great. I can't stop watching your videos. :)

Here in Romania, we also make stuffed cabbage. Sometimes we use leaves of sour kraut instead of fresh cabbage.
But for a twist to this recipe try adding thyme and dill in the meat mixture, 2 bay leaves in the water and a little butter.
Oh, and for extra flavor, you can add with the cabbage rolls a couple of stuffed bell peppers with the same meat mixture.

Give it a try and serve with a couple of spoons of sour cream on top.

Carmen

bladeddc said...

thank you sirji

Ne said...

Hi!
I really like your site and channel and I wanted to thank you for it.
Also, I had something really similar to this today, in Croatia (and all the ex Yugoslavian countries) we have a traditional meal called 'sarma'. The difference is that we make it from sour cabbage, with a lot less tomatoes and we season it a little different.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarma_(food) You should try it =)
Oh, and we freeze this all the time, after cooked.

Popie Mac said...

Thank you for your recipe Chef John. Will try it very soon. So have you tried your recipe without the egg like Mama suggested. :) Just curious how both versions taste.