Kāpostu tīteņi Every week I make a dish from Latviešu ēdieni. I sat, tapping my pen on our menu sheet, trying to decide which recipe to make from Latviešu ēdieni. My husband thought for a few minutes and said, "You know what I would like to have this week? Kāpostu tīteņi! I haven't had that in years." Kāpostu tīteņi are basically kotletes wrapped in cabbage leaves. Strangely, this variation doesn't appear in our little cookbook, but since we'd made kotletes earlier this summer using a recipe from Latviešu ēdieni that came out incredibly well, we decided just to adapt from there. I have to say, it came out beautifully. I absolutely adored this because the browned cabbage leaves add so much flavor and moistness to the meatballs. Plus, it makes enough to feed a crowd -- we have plenty left over for snacks and lunches over the next couple of days! To prepare this dish, it's best to have either a meat grinder or a food processor, since the meat is ground twice to get a very fine texture. You can use just about any kind of beef or pork you want, lean or not. I used a hunk of tip roast I found on a really good sale along with a couple of boneless pork chops from a similar sale. You can use just about any ratio of beef to pork, it's really just to taste. All wrapped up!

Kāpostu tīteņi -- Cabbage-Wrapped Meatballs [printable recipe]

Serves many

Soak bread and rice in milk. Grind beef and pork in a meat grinder or food processor until coarsely ground. Saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt until edges begin to brown. Drain bread/rice mixture. Combine onions, garlic, bread and rice with meat. Grind or process again until finely ground, running the slice of bread last to catch any leftbehind bits. Mix in spices, about 1/4 cup bread crumbs (more to taste), two big pinches of salt and egg into meat mixture until thoroughly combined.

Carefully separate and remove the leaves of the cabbage and place into a large, microwave-safe dish. (You want to get almost all of the leaves until they become too small to use (the core+leaves will be around the size of a closed fist). Add 2 tbsp of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the leaves are soft and pliable (about 8 minutes). Remove wrap and let cool.

How to roll with a leaf

Lay out a cabbage leaf and fill the leafy end with meat. Tuck up the sides and roll towards the stem end so that you have a little cabbage roll. Set aside and repeat.

Finished rolling and ready to cook

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large skillet set over medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp oil, swirling to coat. Add three or four cabbage rolls (don't crowd them) and brown nicely on both sides (about 4 minutes). Remove to a 13x9 baking dish. Set the rolls quite close together. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.