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Dining In: Best comfort foods come from wintry places

It doesn’t look like winter will be loosening its icy grip anytime soon, so that calls for more comfort foods to help us get through until spring.

We have been eating soups and stews for months, so how about something different?

Some of the best comfort foods come from the nations where winter is long and deep. Among those is Ukraine, whose foods will be celebrated Saturday at the Ukrainian Dinner at St. Anne Ukrainian Church in Warrington. From 4 to 7 p.m. the church will be serving pierogies, kielbasa with sauerkraut, buttered noodles with cabbage, and that international favorite, cabbage rolls.

Cabbage rolls, called holubschi in Ukrainian, cross international borders; they have many names are enjoyed in pretty much every country where cabbage is grown. The fillings may vary, but the concept remains the same: a dish that is warm and comforting.

If you can’t make it to the Ukrainian dinner, you might try this recipe from

Cabbage Rolls

3 cups short grain rice
6 cups water
¾ cup margarine (divided into
½ cup and ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
1 onion
1 can tomato soup
2 heads cabbage (boiled,
sectioned, frozen and
then thawed)
¼ pound bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring 6 cups of water, ¼ cup margarine, and 3 cups of short grain rice to a boil and simmer until cooked. Keep cooked rice in the large pot.
2. While rice is cooking, brown your ground beef with ½ of the onion, chopped.
3. Brown bacon along with ¼ of your onion, chopped.
4. When ground beef and onions are cooked, mix with white rice and set aside.
5. Mix can of tomato soup with ½ cup water and set aside.
6. Melt ½ cup margarine (or butter) with remaining ¼ onion, chopped.
7. Lay aluminum foil on the bottom of a large casserole dish and spoon one layer of tomato soup, bacon and onion mixture.
8. Take a cabbage leaf (roughly the size of your hand) and lay it flat. Take a small spoonful of rice and beef mixture and place it on the top 1/3 of the cabbage leaf. Begin to fold the edges over the rice/beef mixture. Shape and roll the cabbage leaf and rice/beef mixture to the bottom. Tuck in both edges of the cabbage roll.
Place cabbage roll in your casserole dish. Continue to layer cabbage rolls into two layers in your casserole dish. In between the first and second layer, and on top of the second layer, add more tomato soup mixture along with bacon and onion.
9. Pour melted butter and onions over the two layers of cabbage rolls in the casserole dish.
10. Cover second layer with a few remaining cabbage leaves and place foil over top.
11. Bake in a 325-degreeF oven on the middle rack for approximately 3 hours or until cabbage is soft.
12. Remove from oven and enjoy.