Do you have some leftover Corned Beef from St. Patrick’s Day? Leftover potatoes, cabbage, too? This is leftover heaven, all rolled into a cabbage leaf. Not only that, it’s a skillet dinner…only one pan to clean…life just keeps getting better. I was reading a feed I got from Canadian Living™ magazine on cabbage rolls stuffed with corned beef and that’s where I got the idea for these little bundles of goodness. I’ve always liked the sweet & sour aspect of an apple and tomato combination with cabbage rolls, so I sort of stuck with that idea.
If you made Corned Beef with Beer Gravy, use some of the gravy to make the sauce. It’ll be even better. I’ve started using Brussels sprouts instead of cabbage in our “boiled dinner”. We just prefer them and they’re easier to handle. I use the cabbage to make slaw, like the Not-Quite-Classic Slaw. You’d think it might be over-kill, but it works well.
This isn’t a complicated recipe, but it is a bit time-consuming. First of all, the cabbage. Napa cabbage works best as the leaves are a little more pliable. Then you need to precook the leaves. There are several ways to do that. You can drop them in boiling water, blanch them and then plunge them into ice water. That’s the more traditional way. The easiest is to simply freeze the whole head of cabbage for 24 hours, then let it set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You want it to thaw enough so you can peel off leaves one by one. The option I chose, because I was only making about 8 rolls, is to use the microwave. Just rinse the leaves, shake off most of the water, then wrap them in plastic wrap and nuke them for 1-2 minutes; cool until you can handle them. They soften and become completely pliable. I didn’t have Napa cabbage; this is just plain, old regular cabbage.
I chop up the corned beef, the cooked potatoes, and the Brussels sprouts. I like to chop them relatively finely. And I finely shredded a carrot. If you have some leftover cooked carrots (or parsnips), just chop them up, too. You want everything to be pretty much the same size. I toss all the filling ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough gravy or broth just to bind it together.
I do the same thing with the sauce ingredients—stir everything together in a bowl. Make certain that cornstarch dissolves completely. Usually just letting the mixture stand for 5 minutes, then stirring well will take care of it. I use pasta sauce which I had in the fridge, but you can use tomato sauce or fire-roasted diced tomatoes, if you prefer.
No matter which method you use to precook the cabbage leaves, you’ll need to cut the rib out. That’s the thick-ish white part that holds each leaf onto the core (stem). So now, you’ll have this slit, which I just overlap as best I can. Place some of the filling near the bottom and roll, tucking the sides in as you go. Place the roll seam-side down in a skillet and snuggle them right up to each other.
Now toss the currants and pearl onions over the rolls. If you’re using frozen pearl onions, there’s no need to thaw them. Give the sauce a good stir and pour it over the rolls. Now, into the oven and now you just have to wait. When the leaf is tender and the sauce has cooked down, it’s time to dine!
Corned Beef-Potato Cabbage Rolls with Cider-Tomato Sauce
- 8-10 cabbage leaves (see NOTE), softened
- 1 carrot, finely shredded (or leftover cooked carrot, chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leftover corned beef
- 3/4-1 cup chopped cooked potatoes
- 1/2-3/4 cup chopped, cooked cabbage or Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 cup finely chopped leftover onions
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (or leftover beer gravy)
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh dillweed (optional)
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions (no need to thaw)
- 1/3-1/2 cup currants or raisins
- 1 cup pasta sauce (or tomato sauce)
- 3/4 cup leftover gravy or broth
- 1/3 cup apple juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or molasses
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
In a bowl, combine the filling ingredients, except the pearl onions and currants. Stir until just combined. It should just hang together; set aside.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
Working in batches, drop the cabbage leaves in boiling water until slightly softened; rinse to cool. Using knife, cut triangle from bottom of each cabbage leaf to remove the rib (the thick white portion); overlap the cabbage where you’ve removed the rib. Place about 1/3 cup of the filling in the lower end and roll, tucking in sides and roll up to completely enclose the filling. Place seam side down in an oven-proof skillet.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Scatter the onions and currants over the cabbage rolls. Pour the sauce over the rolls, covering the completely. Slide the skillet into the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cabbage leaves are tender. Serve immediately, cool slightly or cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate; reheat before serving. Serve as is or with Creamy Horseradish-Mustard Sauce.
NOTE: Napa cabbage works best as the leaves are a little more pliable. There are several ways to “precook” cabbage leaves. You may simply freeze the whole head for 24 hours, then let set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Just peel off leaves as they thaw. Another option is to rinse the leaves, then wrap them in plastic wrap and microwave for 1-2 minutes; cool until you can handle them.
Corned Beef-Potato Cabbage Rolls with Cider-Tomato Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
It turns out that these little beauties are a great way to use up those St. Pat’s leftovers. And, the Creamy Horseradish-Mustard Sauce, by the way, was delicious on these little bundles.