Stuffed cabbage rolls (Halishkes)
1 large head cabbage; onion; 2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce; 2 sauce cans water; 1 1/2 lbs chopped chuck; 1 onion, chopped; 3/4 cup raw rice; 1 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1/2 cup water; 3 tbsp lemon juice; 1 package (12 oz. ) pitted prunes; 3 tbsp brown sugar
Carefully remove 12 large leaves from a head of cabbage. Slice away some of the thickest part of the center rib to make the leaves uniformly thin. Pour boiling water over the leaves and let them stand until they are flexible and bend easily. Shred the rest of the cabbage finely. Heat a heavy frying pan. Brown a sliced onion in a little canola or olive oil. Add the shredded cabbage and cook together while you prepare the cabbage rolls. Mix the chuck, onion, rice, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water. Put a heaping tbsp of meat on each softened cabbage leaf. Roll up, tucking in the sides. Secure with thread or tuck in the end. Lay the rolls in the pan, seam side down. Cover and cook about 1 1/2 hours. Check and add a little water, if necessary, to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, sugar and prunes and cook about 1/2 hour longer. Taste the gravy and add salt and pepper to taste. Halishkes taste even better the next day. Cover and bake in a moderate oven until thoroughly hot. 6 servings.
Performers Analysis: As a kid growing up in Brooklyn. It should be stressed that at the turn ot eh century it was expected that immigrants assimilated into society rather than retain their culture of their homeland. Both my parents attended elocution school so they would speak English without accents.
We used to eat Halishkes on a regular basis, and they were not associated with any particular holiday. Interestingly, my wife Cynthia and her family would eat Halishkes as a house-hold meal as well, so it seems to be a fairly common food among Jewish-Americans.
Collectors analysis: Like the Latkes, Halishkes, or stuffed cabbage rolls, are common dish at the dinner table. My grandfather, Albert Schutzer, and his wife Cynthia both grew up in the New York are, but both of their families came from different countries in Europe. Despite their difference in origins, Albert and Cynthia both group with their parents preparing Halishkes for certain dinner occasions.
I thought it was interesting that my grandparents parents, who were not native to the United States, made an effort to assimilate into American society by taking elocution lessons and almost forgetting their home country. However, they did manage to retain some of their heritage; in this case it was the original Jewish recipes like Haliskes.