Growing up, we all had those favorite dishes that we loved. You know, the dishes that were so special that now, as adults, whenever we make them, it takes us back to our childhood.
For me, the one dish that invokes these feelings is what we called Cabbage Pockets. Cabbage Pockets are a yummy sweet bread pocket filled with ground beef, cabbage, salt, and pepper. That’s it, simple ingredients that make a tasty and filling pocket. When my parents were married, my father’s mother gave the recipe to my mother. In Germany, they are called Krautbrot or Bierocks and made the same way that my parents taught me.
My grandmother was a German immigrant. She, along with her family, came to the U.S. when she was very young. Eventually, she and her family became U.S. citizens and settled in Colorado. When my father was young, they had a family farm, so, as you can imagine, stretching the dollar was important.
Over the years, I have doctored them up a bit by adding things like mushrooms, garlic salt, etc., but the basic recipe is just fine with me, and that is what I’m sharing with you. This is a two-part recipe, one for the bread dough and one for the filling, but you could certainly use frozen bread dough if you like, but it won’t have the same flavor. You can also use rapid rise yeast to speed up the process if you don’t want to get up early in the morning to get the bread dough started. Of course, if you happen to have a bread machine, you could use it to make the dough as well.
1 ½ lb. Ground Beef
2 Heads Cabbage chopped into 1″ square pieces
In a dutch oven, brown ground beef and drain off fat. If you wish to add garlic or onion, you should add it while you are browning the ground beef to ensure they cook thoroughly. Once ground beef is cooked, add chopped cabbage and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium-low heat until the cabbage is cooked and is translucent. Place filling in a strainer to ensure any residual liquid drains before filling pockets. *This is key to ensure the dough doesn’t break apart from too much liquid.
Sweet Roll Dough
1 pkg. Yeast
½ c. lukewarm milk, scalded & cooled
1 tsp. salt
½ c. warm water
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. shortening
3 ½ – 4 c. all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, shortening, salt, egg, and enough flour to make dough easy to handle.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, ensuring the top of the dough is greased and cover. Let rise until double in size. Punch down and let rise a second time.
After the second rise, turn out onto the floured surface and roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 5-6″ squares. Fill each square with the meat/cabbage mixture. Do not overfill, or your pockets will not close. Close each pocket by pulling all four corners to the center and pinching the seams closed.
Place seam side down on an ungreased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper, brush with either oil or an egg wash, and bake until golden brown.