Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage)

I feel like I should apologise to you guys for having been away so long. But I've already made that apology so many times I assume at this point y'all know I'm just a little flaky from time to time, and we'll leave it at that. And now when I disappear again for some odd reason, y'all won't be surprised in the least. 
This particular disappearance was a pretty interesting one. I wrapped up my math degree, which is pretty exciting. Then I went on a two week road trip vacation. My main stops (where I've not lived before) were in Omaha, to visit my friend and adopted brother D, and just outside Dickson, TN, where I visited my friend C. I had an outstanding time, filled with nature, picking fruits from trees, cooking, baking (without internet to remind me how to do things I'd forgotten) and eating lots of foods I didn't make as well. I had the most incredible fish and chips (and fried pickles) I've ever eaten in Omaha at the Dundee Dell (where I encourage you all to eat and/or drink if you're in Omaha). I had an interesting and exciting new take on falafel, and I also had some pretty amazing BBQ (though I did have to ask for pickles, which has never happened to me before) somewhere in Arkansas. 

And then I came home and have started getting settled into my postbacc semester (grad school officially starts next semester). I am, of course, already a little behind. Having come off a math degree, I'm honestly not used to not being able to procrastinate a little on my homework without getting seriously behind. In liberal arts, though I find the work easier, it's much more time consuming and so I've learned that I really do need to stay on top of it, as prescribed in the syllabi. 

Anyway. I've actually been cooking a lot since I got home, and I'll start posting the new recipes as I get to it. Additionally, I've decided for the time being to scrap the weekly and monthly budgets for grocery shopping. Honestly, I'm not convinced I actually want to spend the time planning carefully enough to stick to the previous budgets 100% (or even closely enough to 100% to make me feel okay with bothering at all right now) right now, and so while I'll still always keep a mind toward frugality at the store, I'm not going to try to stay within a fixed budget right now. When that changes, I'll let you know. I will, however, still keep my receipts so y'all can still see what I'm buying and how much I'm spending (for Saturday Spending). For Sunday Storage, I've made a much larger dent in my food storage supplies than I realised, and I'll be telling you all about that over the weekend. And of course, Food Waste Friday will be back as well. 

Oh, and regarding my camera. It works, as of the last time I saw it. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it since partway through my vacation. So once I figure out where I've left it, I'll start putting pictures with the posts again.

And so, in the spirit of coming back with yumminess instead of just vacation ramblings and "Oh hai so sry to be gone," I've got a recipe for you. I honestly can't believe I've never posted this before. Though I'm not sure why I'm surprised I haven't given this recipe to y'all, when I haven't even made it since probably 2006 or 2007. Last night, R and I had a friend over for dinner, and I made latkes and these holishkes. They're slightly different from how they were made while I was growing up, but I still think they're quite good. They lack that sweetness you find in most Eastern European versions, but they also lack the tang, I suppose, of those you might normally find in Middle Eastern varieties. I kind of view these as splitting the difference in how stuffed cabbages can be made. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Italian spices
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup uncooked white rice
1¾ cup water

1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce

10 (ish) large cabbage leaves, blanched

2 – 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 can water

Combine rice and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, then cover and reduce heat. Allow to cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes longer, covered.
Add beef and seasonings to a large frying pan; fry until beef is cooked all the way through. Remove meat, and sauté onion in drippings.

Combine all of the above with 8 oz can tomato sauce. Spoon mixture into cabbage leaves. Roll like a burrito and put in 13”x9” casserole dish.

Mix together water and remaining tomato sauce; pour over cabbage rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. Serves 5-10.


  1. Huh, I've never made it in the oven before. My grandma always cooks them on the stovetop in a huge pot with one can of tomato soup and enough water to cover the cabbage rolls. Also, in order to keep them from floating up, you must use a plate flipped upside down on top of them... there is NO OTHER way to do such a task! :-P

    Also, my grandma doesn't use spices, so I might have to try your combo, as it sounds tasty!

  2. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Excuses! Excuses! But then you redeemed yourself with the recipe. I love eating this traditional dish. I can ravage a cabbage any day of the week. •  :)

  3. Dea-chan,

    That's really interesting. I've never considered doing them stovetop. It's always been an oven recipe to me. Isn't it always great to see differences in how people make things?


    Thanks! I'm glad the recipe redeems me! Isn't cabbage just wonderful?


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