These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Traditional Comfort Food for Succot & Simchat Torah

Posted on October 2, 2015 by David Berman

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Some would say that not many, if any foods, are associated with Succot, while so many other festivals have foods that are so obviously related to them (think kneidelach on Pesach, dairy foods on Shavuot, tsimmes on Rosh Hashanah…). Many, however, do have the tradition to eat stuffed cabbage on Succot. The reason most often given is that Succot is a harvest festival and the stuffed cabbage represents the bountiful harvest. Be that as it may, Succot is a time when we sit outside, in our succah, and not in the comfort of our homes, and in Israel it can be quite cool at this time of the year. It thus seems to be appropriate that we have a comforting, warming and deliciously filling dish on Succot – and of course, stuffed cabbage fits the bill!

Following please find a really easy recipe for a Meat/Besari Stuffed Cabbage Casserole that offers all the deliciousness of stuffed cabbage without all the hard work.

Please note that you can prepare a non-meat/parev version of this dish, replacing the minced meat with a vegetarian meat replacement (such as the Israeli make Tivol), or with a home-made substitute from sautéed onions and cooked red beans and/or brown lentils and/or mushrooms.

I’d be happy to answer any questions that you might have…

With best wishes for a wonderful Shabbat Chol HaMoed and Yom tov!

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

500g ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup uncooked rice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 medium head of white cabbage, chopped coarsely

Brown meat, onion and garlic. Drain well, add rice, salt and pepper.

In small bowl mix together tomato sauce, vinegar, water, brown sugar and mustard.

Layer 1/3 of the cabbage in a deep oiled casserole dish. Arrange ½ of beef mixture on top, cover with another 1/3 of cabbage. Top with remaining beef mixture and remaining cabbage. Pour tomato sauce mixture over the top, do not stir. Casserole will be quite full. Let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Bake in 350°F/180°C oven for 1½ – 2 hours without stirring, until the cabbage and rice are cooked and the top is nicely browned. If towards the end of the cooking time the casserole looks dry, you can add a small amount water to the dish.

Delicious served piping hot accompanied with roasted potatoes, cooked vegetables and salad, and a glass of good Israeli red wine!.


Bete’avon, and Chag Sameach!