This story starts with my housemate. She is taking a business class and her homework for the week was something along the lines of ‘find something innovative for 8 people to do’. She decided to do a recipe exchange and potluck. Each participant was asked to come up wish a dish that represented their country of origin. After all the recipes were assembled, she passed them out randomly. The exercise encouraged everyone to go outside their comfort zone. She assembled a diverse group with home countries such as France, China, Japan, Italy, and Germany. There was ratatouille, lasagna, lettuce wraps, hummus, and krautwickel.
Krautwickel or ‘Krautwickerle’ is a traditional German recipe. It is essentially steamed beef wrapped in cabbage leaves. I had never heard of it before so I didn’t know what to expect. I was given a recipe, but besides the ingredient list, the instructions were rather vague on the details of how to actually make the wraps. I did some google searches and came up with something. I never got a chance to ask the German woman if they tasted authentic, but they certainly were yummy and easy to make. These wraps have a subtle cabbage flavor and because of the slow cooking, the meat is very tender. I think I would have liked a bit more spices, but that’s just me. I would definitely make these again.
All in all, I think the group project was a fun experience. I’m glad I was given a recipe I had never heard of before (unlike lasagna). I was also pleasantly suprised that while different, the recipe did not call for any ingredients that I did not already have on hand or could easily pick up at the local grocery store.
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup minced parsely
- caraway seeds (1-2 tsp), nutmeg (1/2 tsp) ,and salt/pepper
- beef broth (~2 cups)
- 4 slices bacon, cut in half perpendicular to longest side
- 1 tablespoon butter
- string or tooth picks
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Wash cabbage head. Cook cabbage in boiling water 2-3 minutes until outer leaves are tender.** Remove from pot and rinse, isolating large cooked leaves. Return any uncooked leaves to pot of boiling water. Repeat until there are approximately 16 large leaves. Any additional leaves should be finely chopped and set aside. **It is important that the leaves do not get too soft or it will be hard to make rolls.
Mix ground beef, eggs, reserved cabbage, onion, egg, parsley, caraway, nutmeg, salt, and pepper is bowl. Mix well.
To assemble wraps, divide meat mixture into 8 portions and wrap with two cabbage leaves. Secure with tooth picks or wrap with string.
Melt butter in nonstick pan over medium heat. Fry each wrap for 1-2 minutes each side. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, heat broth over medium heat in a heavy bottom pan. (I could not fit all 8 wraps in one pan so I had to divide them between two.) Place wraps in broth and bring to a boil. Place a slice of bacon over each wrap. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes. While you do not need to turn wraps, it is important that they do not burn on the bottom so keep an eye out for broth evaporating. Add extra broth as needed.