Two Lithuanian Favorites: Low-Fat Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Liesi Kopūstainiai, Dumplings Virtiniai (Koldūnai)

with Dana Siliūnas.


Liesi Kopustainiai

2 lbs. round steak ground
1 large onion chopped
2 egg whites
1 can or pkg. sauerkraut
1 head cabbage
1 can condensed tomato soup
Salt (optional)
Pinch of pepper
1 1/2 cups rice
1 green pepper

Steam cabbage to soften leaves. Cut out thick stems. Cook rice according to package directions, rinse and let stand in cool water. Put ground round in large bowl and add chopped onion, chopped green pepper, drained rice, salt, pepper, egg whites, and mix well. Place scoop of mixture on cabbage leaf and roll up fastening with toothpicks. Empty can of tomato soup into large cooking pot and add one can of water. Arrange cabbage rolls in pot and add remaining cabbage on top of rolls. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cook about one hour or until cabbage is tender. Drain liquid from sauerkraut and give one rinse. Add to pot of cabbage rolls and cover to heat. Serve with boiled potatoes, green beans or rye bread.

Virtiniai (Koldunai)

3 eggs
2 tbsps. water
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

Meat Filling
1 1/2 lbs. lean chopped meat
2 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs thoroughly. Add salt, water and flour to make a soft, work able dough. Divide dough into 3 parts for easier handling. Sprinkle board with flour and roll dough to Vs inch thickness. With a large glass, cup, or round cookie cutter, cut circles from dough. Prepare meat filling by blending remaining ingredients together. Shape into 1-1V2 inch balls. Place a ball in the center of each circle of dough, leaving some space around. Fold dough over ball and seal edges by pinching dough together with fingers. Drop dumplings into large kettle containing 3 qts. boiling salted water. Boil uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well, serve hot with bacon sauce.

Optional mushroom filling: Wash 1 lb. of fresh mushrooms. Bring water to boil and cook mushrooms for 5 mins. Remove, drain and squeeze excess water. Chop very finely by hand or with a Cuisineait. Place mushrooms in frying pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and saute in butter or margarine for 5-10 mins. Place a teaspoon of mushroom mixture on each dough circle and continue as above.

Bacon sauce: Cut 1/2 lb. bacon into 1-inch pieces. Fry in large skillet until semi-crisp. Drain off all except 3 tbsps fat. Add 3 tbsps butter or margarine. Add 2 cups milk, cream or evaporated milk. Heat, do not boil.

To freeze: Boil dumplings ten minutes only. Drain well, place on absorbent paper to cool. Wrap in aluminum foil in small portions. To serve: drop frozen dumplings into boiling salted water. Bring to a boil, continue boiling for 20 minutes. Drain, seive hot with bacon sauce.