Regular readers will know that a large group of us hold a Eurovision Party every year. New readers are probably wondering ‘why?’. The easy answer is ‘why not?’. It’s a chance to get together, celebrate all that is good, bad and ridiculous about the song competition as well as enjoy the food of the host country. And of course, there’s the chance to watch national treasure, the wonderful Lee Lin Chin, deliver the televote scores for Australia.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all talking about Dami Im’s stellar performance at Eurovision 2016. Despite many people asking why Australia was even an entrant, Dami delivered a clear message. ‘Look out Europe – the Aussies have arrived’. She took out number two spot in the competition with #1 going to Ukraine. As Michelle had plucked Ukraine out of the hat last year, she was the host for this year’s Eurovision Party.
These days, there is very little that falls into the absurd or outlandish category. Everyone is deadly serious about winning and making their fortune. It’s like a very slick version of ‘Europe’s Got Talent’. There was however, some controversy. A naughty Ukrainian draped in an Aussie flag jumped on stage and proceeded to drop trow and moon 200 million people around the world. Apparently there was outrage. We just roared with laughter.
One thing I remember from Social Studies in grade 3 is that Ukraine was known as ‘the bread basket of Europe’. The CIA (yes, that CIA) World Factbook states that Ukraine produced 25% of the former Soviet Union’s agricultural output. That’s a lot of wheat, a lot of root vegetables and a HUGE amount of cabbage. It seemed only fitting then to make a version of Holubtsi Cabbage Rolls to bring to the Eurovision festive table. The recipe is adapted from this version of Lazy Cabbage Rolls.
Thank goodness Portugal won this year. I’m sure Robert, who will be hosting next year, isn’t saying ‘thank goodness’, The rest of us though, are certainly looking forward to a Eurovision party sans dill, root vegetables and pickled fish.
Holubtsi Cabbage Rolls
- 500g beef mince
- 500g white cabbage, grated finely
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice, cooked and cooled
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped (or 1 tbsp dried dill)
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 tspn Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- salt and pepper to season
- oil for frying
- Warm a frying pan over a medium heat with a few tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and fry for several minutes until it’s softened and translucent. Stir regularly.
- Add the grated carrot and continue to cook and stir for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the finely grated cabbage to the frying pan and continue to stir and cook. The cabbage is bulky but will cook down in the pan. The more finely it is grated, the quicker it will cook down and the easier it will be to mold the rolls.
- Once the mixture has cooked for approximately 10 minutes, remove from the heat and add the rice. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and set it aside to cool.
- Once cooled, add the grated garlic cloves, chopped or dried dill and the mince. Mix well to combine and to ensure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture (using your hands it best).
- Add the egg and seasoning and mix again. Make sure you add sufficient salt – mince always needs more than you think.
- Divide the mixture into even portions. I weighed my rolls at 75g each, giving me 20 rolls.
- Press and shape the cabbage rolls with your hands. You can shape them as logs or as rissoles.
- Wipe out the pan used to cook the cabbage, add some more oil and heat on a medium high heat.
- Fry the Holubtsi Cabbage Rolls in batches, to brown them. When they are brown on all sides, transfer them to a plate or tray lined with paper towel, to absorb excess oil.
- Pre-heat an oven to 200c. Whilst oven is heating, make the sauce in a jug by combining sour cream, crushed tinned tomatoes and lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, if using.
- Lay the cabbage rolls evenly in a greased baking dish and cover with the sauce.
- Bake the Holubtsi Cabbage Rolls in the 200c oven for 40 minutes. They and ready when the sauce is browned and bubbling.
Makes approx 20 rolls
Serve alongside a green salad, crusty bread and the coveted Eurovision Trophy. See you next year in Portugal.