Cabbage rolls are a deep Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition. As we have discussed, all Amish can in some way be considered Pennsylvania Dutch, but not all Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish. Pennsylvania Dutch is a catch-all umbrella term which encompasses a stew of ethnic groups that form a patchwork in the Keystone State.
Cabbage rolls are generally a “special occasion” meal or Sunday-type meal, one where the whole family sits down together and lingers.
Cabbage rolls are also popular in French and Acadian culture, so there’s definitely overlap in the European culinary culture of the Amish and the non-Amish Pennsylvania Dutch. This is , by the way, not a common Amish meal outside of Pennsylvania. But in parts of Pennsylvania this is a common and popular dish in Amish homes.
This is an Amish recipe for cabbage rolls along with some I recently photographed, non-Amish, but homemade and made in rural Maine as an example of how Acadian cooking and Amish cooking are similar sometimes.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ⅓ cup rice, uncooked
- 1 egg
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 tblsp. shortening
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 can tomato soup
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. parsley, minced
- 6 cabbage leaves
- salt and pepper
- Combine meat, salt, pepper, rice and egg, mix well.
- For the sauce: fry onion in the butter until soft.
- Add tomato soup and equal amount of water to onion, also celery, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Cook for 10 minutes.
- Wash the cabbage leaves and boil until tender.
- Put equal amounts of the meat mixture into cabbage leaves, roll tightly and secure with toothpicks. Place rolls in sauce pan, pour sauce over them, cover pan and cook very slowly for 3 hours.