Cabbage rollsCabbage rolls in tomato sauce is a carnivore’s favorite, a lightly spiced ground beef/pork filling with garlic, onion, and rice topped with a tomato sauce. It’s a comforting dish before winter comes our way (for northern hemisphere guys). It a popular dish throughout Central-East Europe up to Asian. Although they have many different variations from place to place, some are made with a side of sour cream other with savoy cabbage, etc. This version is closer to the Polish version called Gołąbki which is a mix of beef and pork filling and cook in the oven with a tomato sauce. The only difference is; I’ve made an Italian flavor twist to it and add some more garlic and thyme to the dish with a touch of cumin powder and pepper in the meat filling.cabbagerollpin

Cabbage rollsIt’s a fairly simple recipe but on the other hand it’s got a long preparation. Resulting into a sunday fest more than an everyday meal. Although once you do a bunch of those rolls, you’ll have great leftovers, plus they get even better the next day with all the flavors mixing setting in overnight. The process is quite long because you’ll need to boil and separate the cabbage leaves, then roll them up, make the sauce and then cook in the oven for an hour. But if you like to take your time, even the kiddos could help to roll some of those meat treat up. As they say: Good things come to those who wait and this is no exception.

So let’s make those meaty cabbage rolls!

Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce

Makes about 15 rolls (2 per person)

  • 800kg of ground beef-pork
  • 1 white cabbage 
  • 1 cup of precooked rice
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped (1 for the meat and 2 for the tomato sauce)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 100ml of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Start by cutting out the stem of the white cabbage and take the first “dirty”leaves off
  2. Cook the cabbage in a big pot of salty, boiling water for 10 minutes (be careful and calculate the water amount before it boils… not to overflow the boiling water over yourself.  Test in cold water before)
  3. With the help of kitchen tongs take the outside leave from the cabbage one by one as they get loose while the boiling step and let them cool
  4. Cook the white rice
  5. Cut the onion, garlic and mix into the grounded meat, rice, onion, 1 garlic clove, cumin, salt and pepper
  6. Cut of the thicker part of the stem from each cabbage leaves (makes it easy to roll)
  7. Make a cylinder form with the meat mixture
  8. Add the meat to the cabbage leaf lower end and roll them up (roll the sides in at first)
  9. Add each roll to a large and deep enough oven proof recipient
  10. Blend the tomato, 2 garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and pour over the rolls (or tomato sauce can)
  11. Add the broth, salt and pepper
  12. Cook at 180°C (350F) for an hour, covered with aluminium foil
  13. Let cool a bit before serving


Cabbage rolls

pate chinois

Pâté chinois is a typical French Canadian meal… Apparently created by the British railroad workers, in the 19th century, as an imitation of the famous “cottage pie” (beef, lamb and mashed potatoes). The dish was an imminent “hit”, at least, for the “on site” railroad workers which included many French Canadians and many Chinese workers. The French brought it back home and called it: Chinese pate… which as nothing to do with China…sheperdspiepin

pate chinoisThe “pate chinois” differs from the cottage pie, mainly because of the corn in the middle layer. Which was a cheap and easy ingredient to add, since Canada is full of it. In majority, this is the meal every household does once a month in the East part of Canada. It’s equivalent to tomato pasta for an Italian, or a baguette and cheese to a French, a ceviche to a peruvian… It’s “the” meal every French Canadians family does every other week.

Since living in Spain, I’ve had to add a spanish touch to everything I cook, so instead of doing the typical butter in the mashed potatoes, I’ve used olive oil. Also I’ve added garlic, onions, tomato paste and carrots to the meat and last but not least; fresh thyme. Surprisingly, this meal does already have a layer of paprika (pimenton) on top of it, I used for this one a special smoked paprika called “Pimenton de la Vera”, which is kind of the caviar of spices in Spain. A slight smoky flavour to this pie goes a long way.

So let’s make some eastern canadian meal with a touch of sunny Spain!

Pâté Chinois with a Spanish Twist

Makes 4 portions

Ingredientspate chinois
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g grinded beef meat
  • 1 onion in cubes
  • 1 carrot in cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 50g (tomate frito) tomato paste
  • 300g corn grains
  • 1 tbsp smocked paprika
  • fresh thyme
  • salt, pepper
  1. Cook the potatoes through, peel them (here is a trick)
  2. Mash them with the warm milk, olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Add the onion and carrot with some olive oil to a pan, cook at medium high heat, until soft
  4. Add the garlic and thyme bring to high heat
  5. Add the meat and cook until light brown
  6. Add the paprika and tomato paste
  7. Add the meat mix to the bottom of a oven proof container (deep enough and not too big… about 20cm diametre)
  8. Add the corn layer
  9. Add the mashed potatoe layer
  10. Sprinkle with more paprika, salt, pepper and spray a little olive oil on top
  11. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 200°C (375F), until brown top, finish it with a broil
  12. Let cool a bit and serve

Enjoy on a cold day, with some nicely spiced Bloody Mary!


Pate chinois