Ukrainian Christmas Eve Holubtsi (Cabbage Rolls)

 

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1 large head green cabbage

2 cups white rice

4 cups water

1/4 cups vinegar

1 large onion (chopped fine)

1 tsp. salt and pepper (or to taste)

1  20 oz. can tomato soup plus one can of water

Remove the core from the cabbage and place in a large pot of boiling water with vinegar and salt added. Loosen the outer leaves one at a time and remove from the water when soft and wilted, but not cooked. Cool under cold water and cut away the middle core of each leaf, and cut the cabbage leaves slightly smaller than the palm of your hand.

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Now rinse the rice several times to remove surface starch. Put the rice in a pot, add salt and 4 cups water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Turn off the stove and leave for 30 minutes. Do not take off the lid.

In the meantime, fry the onions in the vegetable oil until soft.  If these are NOT for Christmas Eve, you can finely chop and fry bacon with the onions.

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When the rice is cooked, add half of the onions and mix well. Line a roaster with foil and then any extra-large cabbage leaves.

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Place about 1 tablespoon of rice in each leaf and roll tightly. Place side by side (one layer) in the prepared roaster. Pour some of the tomato soup mixture and some of the onions on every layer. When the roaster is full, pour the remaining tomato soup mixture on the top. Cover with foil.

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Bake at 300F. for about 2 1/2 hours or until the cabbage is tender. To test if done, stick a  fork through the cabbage rolls. The cabbage should be soft and fork tender.

Note:  option to steaming off the cabbage leaves – core the cabbage and place it as a whole head into your freezer.  When ready to make holubsti, defrost. The leaves will be soft and pliable.  Rinse under cold water, cut the leaves in half and take any of the course ribs off.

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