Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lazy Caesar Cabbage Roll Casserole


Today, in my corner of the world, it's a dreary, wet and chilly day. It's the perfect day to make a comfort food that fills my belly as well as my Canadian soul. I do enjoy a good cabbage roll but the mere thought of rolling all that meat/rice mixture into cabbage leaves really turns me off mainly because I'm much too lazy. So I figured I'd make a cabbage roll casserole. Well, I can't just stop there, could I? Of course not.

I wanted to tweak it a bit and give it a Canadian spin!! All of a sudden I thought about combining the comfort food of cabbage rolls with the Canuckiness (is that a word?) of the Mighty Canadian Caesar cocktail. The Caesar is the crazy Canuck cousin of the Bloody Mary that is made with vodka, Clamato juice, loads of seasonings and usually a lovely stalk of celery.

Canadian Pride Trivia: The first Caesar was made in Calgary by bartender Walter Chell back in 1969. Over 250 million Caesars are sold every year making it the #1 selling cocktail in Canada. Can I hear an "EH!!!"?!?!?

Now, before you start getting too excited this dish does not include the alcoholic side of the Caesar so put your vodka away! Go on! We're just going for the taste and flavour of the Caesar.

One of the big differences with traditional cabbage rolls and this dish is that I'm going to be using Clamato juice instead of traditional tomato juice. I know that Clamato juice is pretty popular here in The Great White North but I'm not sure how popular it is outside of Canada. Can any non-Canucks let me know if you can buy it in your neck of the woods? For those who aren't familiar with Clamato juice it's a mixture of tomato juice (which I find to be fairly blaw on its own) and clam juice. I know that clam juice doesn't make for a tasty mental image (how does one get juice from a clam?) but it is very tasty!

I also added a few other tweaks as well. Brad and I luuurve to put horseradish in our Caesars for some added kick and flavour. Deeelish! I also combined both sausage and ground beef and threw in some saurkraut as well. If I'm going to make a meal using cabbage I might as well go whole hog on the gas factor and add some saurkraut into the mix as well.

The overall taste of this casserole was a mild one but I chose to not spike up the heat with Tabasco sauce. Next time I think I'd use Spicy Clamato juice, increase the horseradish and Tabasco and add some celery salt too! So without further adieu, I give you the Lazy Caesar Cabbage Roll Casserole! Enjoy!

1 medium head of cabbage, shredded (approx. 6 cups)
1lb ground beef
5 honey-garlic sausages, uncased
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked rice (I used Minute Rice)
16oz saurkraut, drained
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can water
2 cups Clamato juice
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp horseradish
several shots of Tabasco sauce (optional)
To taste - salt and pepper
To taste - Club House Caesar Rim seasoning

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, sausage, garlic, onion and green pepper over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and sausage is cooked through.
Grease a 9x13" glass or stone dish (don't use metal because the acidity from the tomato sauce will react with it). Place half of the cabbage in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half of the meat mixture over top. Sprinkle uncooked rice over meat mixture followed by the sauerkraut. Repeat layers using remaining: cabbage and meat mixture.

In a bowl, combine tomato soup, water, Clamato juice, Worchestershire sauce, horseradish and Tabasco (if using). Pour mixture over meat/rice/sauerkraut mixture. Season with Caesar Rim seasoning (if using) and salt & pepper.

Cover with foil and place baking dish on top of a rimmed cookie sheet (it WILL overflow and mess up your oven!). Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Canadian Trivia Tidbits from: http://www.thatsthespirit.com/en/drinks/caesar_40th.asp


3 comments:

Holly Henry said...

I am so making this!!! My husband being the comfort food lover he is will be asking for this all the time!
I am officially a follower!!!

Many thanks!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Holly! I'm so glad you popped over to my blog! I hope your husband enjoys this dish. Take my advice and spice it up a bit with some spicy Clamato or some extra Tabasco sauce. :)
Btw, I'm totally planning on making your Salisbury Steak with Red Wine and Thyme. That's total comfort food for me!!

Amateur Cook  ツ said...

Sounds like something you made in 'your evil laboratory'. What a creation! Never heard of Clamato juice, another evil creation by the sound of it, like some mad scientist thought up that one. But at least you can buy a spicy version as well. No seriously Laurie, that does sound delicious - and I am more than willing to give it a try - but alas without Clamato juice included.

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