Stuffed cabbage is a dish I remember loving as a child. My mom often made it when our extended family visited and the intoxicating aroma filled the kitchen. I’ve ordered it at a number of Jewish delis, but they were never as good as Mom’s! So how was I going to make the Schlumpia® version? First some ground rules:
- Use only the highest quality ingredients
- No highly processed components (Ginger Snaps, ketchup)
- No raisins (that may be a personal preference, but I am Uncle Larry and I make the rules)
The meat: Pat LaFrieda’s, a New York City metro area meat purveyor that started in Brooklyn in 1922 and supplies many top restaurants. I opted to use their custom burger blend. It’s a mix of flat iron steak, brisket, and short rib all sourced from American Black Angus beef. Instead of generic canned or jarred tomato sauce, I chose San Marzano tomatoes marked DOP (That’s an acronym for the Italian phrase “Denonminazione d’ Orignine Protetta”), which signifies that the tomatoes are the San Marzano variety grown in Italy’s San Marzano region. Does it really matter? Yes – especially if you’re trying to make the best Stuffed Cabbage lumpiang out there. *(Lumpiang is the plural of lumpia, Schlumpia® is the plural form of Schlumpia® – this should really be a footnote, but I don’t know how to do that in WordPress)
Some restaurant recipes use a lot of rice so they don’t have to use a lot of meat. I do use jasmine rice, but just a little. Since my stuffed cabbage has been rolled into a spring roll wrapper, the cabbage leaves really don’t need to be stuffed. Instead, I make mini meatballs and cook with the chopped cabbage and tomato sauce. To get that authentic Jewish sweet & sour taste, some use “sour salt” which is just another name for citric acid. That doesn’t sound very appetizing, so I instead used fresh lemon juice and light brown organic sugar. The meat/cabbage mixture is strained and the remaining liquid makes the perfect dipping sauce.
For those people out there on a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet, we also make Sweet & Sour Cabbage Schlumpia®: same great flavor but sans meat.