This week I wanted to share my favorite Sukkot recipe. This is autumn comfort food at it’s finest; the ground beef and cabbage are guaranteed to fill you up and warm you up. The brown sugar and red wine vinegar add just a touch of sweet and sour flavors, and the hint of cinnamon keeps you coming back for more.
Stuffed foods are traditional for the holiday and I usually only make this once a year. I have made this a number of times based on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks. This time, I did it just a bit different. Not because I meant to, but my wife was going to the grocery store and asked what ingredients I needed. Instead of looking it up, I just gave her a list of things to pick up off the top of my head. When I went back later and looked, I didn’t quite remember it right. I mean, the basic ingredients are the same, but I did end up a little different direction on it. However, I think it came out great, and now that I have written down what I did, I will definitely do it this way in the future.
If you are not familiar with the holiday of Sukkot, you can find an overview on Wikipedia. I always explain it as a holiday of Thanksgiving. I’m not sure exactly why stuffed foods are traditional for the holiday, but this dish is certainly the right thing for the season. My family builds a sukkah on our deck and we do eat a lot of meals out there all week during the holiday. It can start to get a bit chilly in Minnesota at this time of year, so you need some good comfort food to warm you up. Make sure you have some nice bread to go with this dish to soak up some of that delicious tomato sauce. If you want to stick to something traditional, give my challah recipe a try.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup long grain rice
- 1 1/2 onions chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic minced
- Salt & pepper
- 1 head green cabbage
- 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 onion sliced thin
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- Pinch cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Combine the beef, eggs, rice, chopped onion, garlic, and salt & pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients thoroughly, then stash that in the fridge while you deal with the cabbage. Cut the core out of the head of cabbage and drop it in the pot of boiling water…be careful now! As the cabbage starts to cook a little, you should be able to use a spoon to peel off the leaves one layer at a time. Take the leaves out of the water and let them cool off a bit. Once in a while you may want to lift the whole head of cabbage out to work at the leaves a bit. They should be nice and soft, so don’t tear them. If you are having trouble, let them boil just a bit longer and they should peel off nicely.
Form the meat mixture into balls and wrap in the cabbage leaves. Fit them into a large deep baking dish. You will likely have some cabbage leaves left over. Fold them over themselves and squeeze them in between the filled ones in the dish. Pour the petite diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes over the top. Put the sliced onions on top and sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon, and vinegar. Cover and bake for 2 hours, then remove the cover and bake another 30 minutes.