A few nights ago I wanted to make traditional cabbage rolls. You know, cabbage stuffed with rice and ground beef and simmered in tomato soup… I had never made them before and after hearing a coworker talking about them at lunch, I though I should try them. After all, I had a head of cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used ASAP!
BUT, earlier that day, I got a phone call. What I heard on the other end was nothing at all what I was expecting. Two of my most AMAZING friends from Chicago heard some upsetting news earlier in the day and ever since I spoke with them, I could NOT get the two of them off my mind.
When I got home and opened the freezer to grab some ground beef, I noticed a zip-loc bag of leftover cooked roast in the back. I saved it because I hate throwing things away but I hadn’t used it yet because it wasn’t enough to make a meal.
This got me thinking. With my friends very much still on my mind, I decided to forgo the traditional cabbage roll and make something Chicago inspired. I grabbed the small chunk of roast and one beef hot link. I defrosted both. Roast and beef hot links…very reminiscent of Mr. Beef’s Italian Beef, wouldn’t you say?
What began to unfold looked like it was going to turn out a complete disaster. I stuck with the cabbage roll theme and added cabbage and a can of Rotel instead of tomato soup. I also added one of my FAVORITE ingredients of all time. Giardiniera.
Giardiniera is from the Italian word giardiniere, meaning gardener. It’s pretty hot, so of course, we love it! Giardiniera is a mix of sport peppers, carrots, celery, red bell peppers, olives and banana peppers. It is soaked in a brine and packed in pure olive oil. How can you go wrong? Delish!
My nervousness continued as I cooked. Although the dish was beginning to smell delicious, I had never played around with Italian beef flavors and cabbage.
What ended up on our plates was ridiculously good. We were full all night, Jason loved it, and I think I’ll be making it again one day soon.
I love and adore my friends. I know God will take care of them, no matter what. This recipe is dedicated to them both.
Time: 20 minutes
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 c. roast, cooked and chopped or shredded
1 beef hot link, sliced
1/3 c. giardiniera
1 can Rotel
1/2 c. rice, cooked
Mix all ingredients, except rice, together in a deep skillet. Cover and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender. Stir the mixture a few times during simmer. Serve over a small bed of rice. Yum!