Recipes

John Dan’s Cabbage Rolls (the perfect meal for a Trudeau)

December 31, 2015

I was sixteen when Pierre Trudeau swept back into power in 1980. Months before the election, as a “Young Liberal,” I attended a fundraising dinner dressed in a shiny blue kimono-styled dress at the Ukrainian Hall in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the keynote speaker—Trudeau himself.  On his way to the podium he stopped at my table and touched my arm. “I like your dress, ” he said, flashing that same devilish smile that had repatriated a constitution. I gazed up, my mouth full of Ukrainian food and smiled the way you do when you’ve been eating cabbage. He winked and went on his way. I’ve loved shiny dresses, cabbage rolls and Trudeaus’ ever since.

Pierre Trudeau

Pierre Trudeau

A spicier, meatier version of the Ukrainian favourite, John Dan’s (well, actually his wife’s) Scottish version of cabbage rolls is the perfect combination of sweetness and fire, not unlike a Trudeau. Although there are a thousand different recipes for cabbage rolls (many of them meatless) John Dan’s recipe is the only one you’ll ever need. A long-time holiday family favourite it’s one of the few recipes I’ve never altered.

So to celebrate the return of a Liberal government in Canada, let’s throw on a shiny dress and bring in the new year Scottish-Ukrainian style a` la Trudeau!  Justin’s gonna love it!

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

John Dan’s Cabbage Rolls

2 large cabbage–Steam/boil cabbages, removing leaves gradually

Cabbage in the pot

Cabbage in the pot

blanched cabbage leaves

blanched cabbage leaves

Filling:

2 tsp dried basil

2.5 lbs of ground beef

1 tsp red pepper (or an extra 1/2 tsp if you like it spicy)

1 cup long grain rice-raw

1 egg

4 large onions—chopped

1/2 c.lemon juice

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp dried parsley

Mix together, form into rolls and wrap with cabbage leaves

Ready to roll

Ready to roll

Rolling

Rolling

Sauce (So simple and sooo delicious)

13oz. can Tomato paste

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp red pepper (cayenne)
2 cans water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup Lemon juice
1 tbsp.parsley

Bay leaf
2 tsp. basil

Simmer sauce ingredients for a half hour. Pour sauce all over the cabbage rolls (reserving some, or even doubling recipe if you want extra sauce for reheating.)

Cabbage Roll Sauce

Cabbage Roll Sauce

All rolled up

All rolled up

Layering

Layering

Line the bottom of the roaster with sauce and layer the rolls on top, saucing between the layers and finishing with more sauce.cabbage rolls in roaster

 

Bake covered at 300 degrees for three hours.

5 Comments

  • Reply Brenda Pledge December 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Carolyn, I remember that dress! Great post!

    • Reply carolynamaral@gmail.com January 8, 2016 at 12:02 am

      Those were the days!

  • Reply Joan MacDonald December 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I haven’t taken my shiny dress off since October. The cabbage roll recipe is great as well.

    • Reply carolynamaral@gmail.com January 8, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Shiny suits you, Joan! Happy New Year!!

  • Reply Patricia Pledge January 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve been thinking about cabbage rolls since this post. I wasn’t going to make them this year but guess what I am doing!!!!

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