New Year Traditions

OK. So, I still haven’t posted the traditional dish my in-laws have on New Year’s Day – cabbage rolls. I can’t seem to sit at the computer long enough to get it finished.

I sorta made this resolution about getting more organized.

It might have included something about making sure all the “chores” were done before I sat down to Facebook/Twitter/blog about something.

It also might have included mandatory laundry nights. Which are really cutting into my cooking/photography/blogging time.

But everyone has clean underwear. This might or might not be a reasonable trade off. I’m still undecided.

So here’s my compromise. The cabbage roll recipe (which was in the family recipe collection I made for my mother-in-law last month) will be in this post…but the photos are not mine. They look like the ones we make…but they are not. Full disclosure.

This photo of black-eyed peas, however, is mine…because you simply can’t go through a New Year’s Day in the south without some. Can I get an “amen?”

Cabbage Rolls and Black-Eyed Peas.

I just read something on this great blog about how the black-eyed pea tradition came to be. I have not researched it. I have no idea if it is true. But it makes for a good story…poverty to prosperity. I like it.

Since I am an extraordinary procrastinator, the stores were out of the quick-fix canned black-eyed peas by the time I went looking for them. Which was roughly 45 minutes before I wanted to eat them. (See resolution about being more organized.) So I had to get the dry ones in the bulk section – which I think are tastier, but did not fit into the 45-minute timeline I had in mind. Time to improvise a little.

Instead of the overnight soak method I would typically use, I threw the peas in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Then heat off, cover on, I let them stand for about 30 minutes. An hour might be better if you aren’t as impatient as I am…although these particular peas (which were on the small side) were nice and soft after just 30 minutes. So it worked out. Which is why I never learn the lesson about not procrastinating.

Then I drained them and added them to a pan of sautéed onions and garlic and a nice ham bone. Chopped bacon would work, too. (I just happened to have a ham bone in the freezer. I like to keep spare pig pieces there.) Then I stirred in chicken broth to the consistency I liked. You’ll need to salt and pepper generously and let simmer for 15 minutes. Or, in my case, until everything was warm enough to at least pass as completely cooked.

We had them with the cabbage rolls over rice. Yum.

When my in-laws make cabbage rolls they are usually doing it with a huge group of people for a New Year’s Day party. They fill up one of those giant electric roasters. You certainly don’t have to make that many…but they do freeze really well. So…maybe not such a bad idea!

Not my photo. I was doing laundry instead of taking photos. This is from alloccasioncatering.org
STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

5 pounds ground beef
5 pounds ground pork
1 3/4 pounds bacon – ground up and mixed with other meats
6 eggs
5 cups rice
Salt and pepper
Mix above ingredients together to create stuffing.
3-4 cans crushed tomatoes
3-4 cans sauerkraut
3 heads cabbage
3-4 onions, sliced
Water
Blanch the large cabbage leaves so they are flexible enough to roll. Fill and roll cabbage leaves with meat and rice stuffing. Use the left over cabbage leaves to line the bottom of the roaster/large pan. Stack cabbage rolls in the pan, layered with sauerkraut, and pour the canned tomatoes throughout. Fill roaster a little more than halfway with water and place the sliced onions on the top. Cover and cook at a very low temperature for 10-12 hours. Check top rolls to see if rice is soft. Makes enough cabbage rolls to feed a huge New Year’s Day crowd.

Obviously you can adjust these numbers down to make a smaller batch. Also, they cook well in a Dutch oven on the stove or in the oven (at low-medium heat.) I’ve also put them in a single layer in a casserole dish, covered, in the oven. That worked nicely.

Another little tip we’ve discovered is that if you roll them too too tightly, it is harder for the rice to get steamed/cooked. So while you want the rolls tight enough to stay together, don’t get crazy. Leave them a little loose.

Alright. I must go.

Several “chores” have cropped up since I started this. I can’t toss out the resolutions yet…we’re only on Day Four.

But you can still hang out on your computer. So why don’t you write to me and tell me about your New Year’s traditions…or resolutions. Unless one of your resolutions was to spend less time on the computer. Then you should probably scoot.

I’ll be folding laundry.

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4 thoughts on “New Year Traditions

  1. Christy Nielson

    Pig pieces in the freezer – love it! 🙂 And can’t wait to try the recipes. I don’t usually like BEP (except the group), but the addition of a big piece of pig in the pot is so intriguing, I’m willing to give it another go.

  2. I loved the post and I can relate to the resolution bit. I said that I was no longer making resolutions, but I find that I still mentally make them and hold myself to it. All of this is internal and it is very annoying. So one of my internal resolutions is to read through the bible. I started last year and did really good until about June 15th when the all day pregnancy nausea hit and I stopped doing just about everything except breathing. Last night, I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed, but I had this nagging voice inside my head saying, “It’s only day 4 and you are going to get behind.” So…just because I don’t verbalize it doesn’t make it so. I might as well admit that my resolutions are: to read through the bible, to answer my phone and return phone calls (I make this one and fail this one EVERY year), to follow through with birthday cards and gifts (I make this one and FAIL this one right about from July on), and take on less (you know the drill). So Happy New Year to you and I will have to try to cabbage rolls. I will have to blindfold my husband and have him eat it without knowing that it’s cabbage. He and my child are 2 peas in a pod…they judge by the name prior to sampling the goods…very annoying.

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      This is so funny – I said I wasn’t going to really make resolutions this year either. And I kind of didn’t…but they are still in my head! Can’t help it. I think the birthday cards resolution is on my list every year, too. Oh well…we’re a work in progress, right? If we started out perfect, how boring would that be?! Happy New Year!

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