Cabbage Rolls (Bieroks)

I originally learned about this delicious dish many years ago from my an in-law. However, I’ve adapted it over the years, so it is really probably not right to even call them “bieroks” anymore. They are a little work, so I only end up making them once or twice a year. I always set out with a plan to make so many that they’ll last a month or more, but then we end up eating them all within the week.

My first hack at the recipe is that I use the bread dough you can buy in the freezer section at many grocery stores. I used to always used the Rhodes brand, but there are several grocery store brands that work perfectly well and are less expensive. Again, because these are a bit of work, I usually end up purchasing the bread, and then it sits in the freezer for weeks until I’ve psyched myself up to the task. I used the loaf style white bread, but you could also use the dinner roll style. With the loaf style, I let it rise and then roll it out and cut it into the individual roll sizes I want just prior to filling them.

For the filling, I use the traditional cabbage and spices in the meat bieroks. I typically cook the cabbage with the meat as it is browning. I’ve made them with just beef, which is how I learned the recipe, but I also really like to mix half ground pork and half ground beef. Oh, and onions. Sometimes I forget the onions and the bieroks are still yummy, but they are even better with a lot of onions.

For the vegan version, I tried making them with mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, onion and spices. These were fine, but Mel felt they needed something more. The most recent version of them had vegan meat crumbles, and these got high praises from all three girls. The mushrooms really create the umami flavor and oozing on the bottom that then browns and is a big hit.

I tried baking them on parchment paper because there is always leakage and it can be a challenge to clean. However, the bottoms of the rolls do not brown as well this way, so I would not recommend it. I would recommend brushing the tops with oil or butter (vegan butter for the vegan ones) prior to baking. I guess you could also do an eggwash on the non-vegan versions, but I haven’t tried that yet.

In the end, you have a handheld full meal, and it’s delicious. These can be frozen individually and then taken for lunch. It’ll thaw enough by mid-day to microwave in just a minute or two. If you microwave from frozen without the thawing time, it’ll just take a bit longer. They are also really good reheated in a toaster oven or the actual oven. But again, that’s only if you can make enough or hide a few before they are all eaten up.

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