Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Meatballs


There is something funny about this dish. I'm not quite sure what  it is but many call this unstuffed cabbage. I'm presuming it is because they know what stuffed cabbage is and this isn't stuffed cabbage. But I have a hard time thinking of this as unstuffed cabbage, when it is really just cabbage and meatballs. Let's call this what it is!  This sweet and sour cabbage can be made soupier if you want to slurp with a spoon or it can be cooked down and eaten as a main course. Of course it can also be a side dish, if you don't want meatballs in it. I vote for meatballs.

My mother first made this dish and served it to my kids, when they were wee little tykes. I do not remember this dish from my childhood. But even if she had made it, I doubt I would have eaten it. Except maybe the meatballs. Who doesn't eat meatballs? I don't know about you but I don't know too many tykes that have a thing for cabbage. However I do know many that have a thing for meatballs. I was never one to like cabbage rolls or stuffed cabbage, (whatever you prefer to call it) and I don't like stuffed grape leaves either. But I am a lover of cabbage. I love various cabbage salads and I love cabbage in Japanese stir fry.


This dish popped into my head as something to bring to a friend of mine's mother. My friend was out of town and I felt like her mom could use some company. Being me, meant that I couldn't go empty handed, so I brought this cabbage and a giant loaf of artisan bread from one of my favorite bread bakeries. Holishkes or stuffed cabbage is a popular Polish dish and my friend's mom is Polish. Manservant was out of town and I knew this dish wasn't something he would relish, so it was my time to make it and enjoy it without him picking around the cabbage for the meatballs!

This recipe makes a lot, but it can also be frozen. The  sweet comes from brown sugar and honey and the sour from lemon juice, though I have seen vinegar used in this. Feel free to adjust the sweet and sour to your liking. This is a hearty dish and one to be enjoyed at the kitchen table. Now that I'm stuck in the midst of  a cold, I am glad I saved some to enjoy also. It is quite comforting in between blowing my nose!


Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Meatballs
Serves: 8
Time to Make: About 20 minutes active and 2.5 hours to simmer
Ingredients:
1 large diced onion
2 lbs green cabbage, chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can tomatoes with juice
1 c water or more depending on how soupy you want this
1/4 c honey
1/4 c lemon juice
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t Hungarian paprika
1/4 c raisins optional and added after 2 hours of cooking

Meatballs
1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t salt or to taste
1 egg
1/2 c grated onion
1/2 c uncooked white rice

Directions:
Combine all soup ingredients, except raisins in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. While mixture is coming to a boil, mix the meatball ingredients together. Shape into walnut sized balls and drop into boiling soup. Reduce heat, cover ad simmer for two hours. Remove cover and add raisins if desired. Continue cooking for 30 more minutes. This is where you may want to add more water if you like this the consistency of soup. I serve this dish with lots of freshly ground black pepper.

More Cabbage Recipes:
Okonomiyaki (Japanese Egg Foo Yung)
Kohlrabi Cabbage Fennel Salad
Vietnamese Style Cole Slaw
My Mom's Secret Cole Slaw

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30 comments:

  1. This is one great recipe, Abbe, pinned it! I love cabbage also and with meatballs, even better, never thought of doing that. It will be a hit here. That's was super nice of you to make this for your friend's mother, and bread too, nice! Hope you're over your cold shortly. Take care

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    1. Thanks Pam! I haven't had a cold in a long time so I am ready to get rid of it! It was so nice to visit with my friend's mom and even better that I could leave this for her!

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  2. Mmmmmm, I remember you talking about this the other day. Looks fantastic! I love stuffed cabbage, so this is definitely going on my to make list.

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    1. You will love it Karen! if only it would start to get chilly!

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  3. My mom made stuffed cabbage leaves as my dad seemed to enjoy them. I remember eating them, but must not have loved them since I've never felt the need to hunt down the recipe :) Your version sounds a bit more complex and quite tasty! Now I'm wondering what Bill would think! Hope your cold dissipates soon!!

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    1. Like I said I was never fond of things stuffed in leaves! But this is so much easier and in my opinion, so much better! It is perfect for a cool day!

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  4. I'm actually working on a recipe for deconstructed stuffed cabbage! Might just as well call it cabbage and meatballs. ;-) This looks like a fun recipe, and certainly has loads of flavor. Too bad about your cold -- hope it's past tense soon!

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    1. Can't wait to see it John! This is a pretty standard Jewish dish. Haven't had a cold in a long time and I'm ready to say good bye!

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  5. Wow! That's just like unstuffed cabbage! (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) This looks really good — and I'm not usually a sweet and sour type of guy ... just mostly sour. ;-)

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    1. Don't be sour Adam. But without sour, we wouldn't know sweet would we? Your bride will be with you soon enough!

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  6. I wouldn't have eaten this as a kid because I couldn't stand the smell of cooked cabbage. As an adult, this would make a nifty meal!

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    1. It did have a smell, didn't it? I think this is not so bad because of all the goodness in there!

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  7. I've not made stuffed cabbage but this un-stuffed version looks like something perfect to have on a cold day.I love that soup season is starting! Jeans and sweaters are also right around the corner which sound so cozy!

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    1. You are right Holly. This si a good one to have for those cool days.

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  8. Unstuffed cabbage sounds like a fun name for this delicious dish, Abbe. My husband is a huge fan of meatball dishes and this might even trick him to eat some cabbages. A great recipe, Abbe.

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    1. Give him the meatballs and you eat the cabbage. Thanks, Angie!

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  9. This looks and sounds absolutely delish, Abbe. Cabbage stuffed meat balls are an awesome idea.

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  10. I love that this is your mother's recipe! This looks wonderful, and it's something different to my usual too. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. Wow, I never never never would have thought of meatballs and cabbage. I am a heavy duty meatball lover. I love pasta, but hey pasta loves me too----tooooooo much. The cabbage lets me enjoy my
    meatballs. Seasoning is over the top.

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  12. I am pinning this one Abbe - I just love cabbage and this sounds wonderful. It is also a very pretty dish - great shots!

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  13. Hi Abbe, I love how your mom put this dish together, sounds wonderful and comforting.

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  14. I like that you're calling it as it is, Abbe. Certainly less confusing! This is what I would call a feel-good dish - good for the soul because I know I'd feel really satisfied eating this. ^.^

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  15. How thoughtful of you! Lookin' good to me:)

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  16. There are so many wonderful things about this recipe that I'm anxious to try it! I have a large half of a green cabbage in the frig and this would be a perfect way to use it. I also have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer that would work great. I've never made meatballs with rice before so looking forward to trying something new! Thanks, Abbe!

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  17. Sweet and sour cabbage is something that I've acquired a taste for as I've gotten older. I still haven't made them at home, so I greatly appreciate your recipe! That big bowl of goodness is calling my name!

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  18. Warming and comforting dish! Perfect for fall!

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  19. Whatever you call it, it looks like the perfect cool-weather dinner!

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  20. I love stuffed cabbage rolls so I know that I would enjoy your sweet and sour cabbage with meatballs. Much easier than making the rolls.

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