Many years ago when I started this blog (5 to be exact, wow!), one of the things I wanted to feature were retro recipes from my massive collection of mid century cookbooks. I went so far as to try a gelatin salad, and even convinced myself I liked it (I didn’t, there is absolutely no way). Then I got more serious about being vegetarian, as well as learning more about eating a more healthy and natural diet. The 50s were pretty much the jumping off point for processed foods, and nearly every main course meal of the day was meat based. The idea of cooking from my vintage cookbook collection was pretty much out the door (other than the odd dessert).
As time went on, I figured I would just collect these books for the novelty of it all. I do love flipping through them with a look of horror on my face while I read the ingredients of a meal, or see a picture of mystery food suspended in Jell-o. At one point I even did a painting of a glazed ham with orange slices pinned on by cloves. It was glorious.
Recently though, I have been toying with the idea of using these recipes and putting my own spin on them. No meat, no gelatin (gag!), and definitely no MSG. The recipe I worked off of yesterday is from The Casserole Cookbook, from 1956. I snapped a photo of the recipe below so you can see my inspiration, I really only used it as a jumping off point. Immediately after browsing the original list of ingredients, I thought mushrooms and wild rice. The rest sort of just fell into place as I cooked, but it turned out delicious. It was a bit time consuming, but I definitely will make this again, probably when I have some vegetarian friends coming over. I’m not sure too many meat lovers would be wild about being served this, though my husband said he enjoyed it. It was really nice to eat a meal where I needed to use a knife.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium cabbage (about 2 lbs)
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry cooking sherry
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed or diced tomatoes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add rice and broth to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until all the water is gone from the pan and the rice is tender.
- In a pan over medium heat add the oil and onions. Saute for a minute or two before adding the carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped mushrooms, dried parsley, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until all the vegetables are soft.
- Combine rice and vegetable mix. Mix in 1/2 cup sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To make the sauce:
- In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil, onions, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for about five minutes, stirring regularly. Add sherry, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and paprika. Bring back up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about thirty minutes.
- Puree the sauce. I used an immersion blender (a regular blender, food processor, or food mill would work also) and only pureed it lightly, I wanted a little bit of a chunky texture in the sauce. Mix in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the base off the head of cabbage, and from the bottom, carefully remove 10 cabbage leaves. It is okay if they tear a little, but try your best to get it all intact.
- Shred remaining cabbage and either steam or boil until soft. While the water is still hot, add the individual leaves (for rolling) to the pot, so they can soften for a few minutes each (you can do them all at once, or a few at a time). Remove leaves from water and set aside to cool.
- In each leaf spoon a few spoonfuls of the rice mix (2-3 tablespoons). Tuck in the sides of the leaves, then roll up. Use a toothpick to secure it until ready to serve.
- To cook, you can either steam the rolls (5-10 minutes), then place on the shredded cabbage and top with the sauce and a dollop of sour cream. Or, you can make them ahead of time, put them all in a baking dish (shredded cabbage on the bottom, rolls, then sauce) then cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
Makes 10-12 rolls.
PS. Ignore the table settings above, that would be the work of my toddler!