Welcome to Odessa's community event of Deutschesfest!


Heritage Church Cabbage Rolls

When you take that first bite of a mouth-watering Cabbage Roll at Deutschesfest you can only wonder how this could take three days to make. Of course it only takes that long when 3,000 are made by the ladies of the Heritage Church to feed the hungry crowds at Deutschesfest.

In past years the church women each were asked to make between 75 and 100 at home then during Fest the frozen Cabbage Rolls would be brought to the church for thawing and then taken to the chalet for re-heating. Now the church women use Das Kraut Haus kitchen and industrial equipment which makes it easier and also ensures that all the Cabbage Rolls are the same size. When they were made at home some would be smaller and some would be much bigger, making it hard to sell them for the same price.

The first day of the three day affair the onions are chopped, the rice is made and the spices are individually bagged, making it easy to add to the meat the next day. The cabbage is cored on the first day and five-gallon pails of half tomato soup and half water are mixed.

On day two, by early morning the work becomes a little harder and much hotter. A three burner gas stove is used to accommodate the large kettle that is used to boil the cabbage heads. After standing over a boiling kettle for five to six hours with your hands near the water, you are ready for the work shift to be over. The hamburger is mixed with the rice, spices and diluted tomato soup in an industrial mixer and placed back into large containers for storage in the refrigerator.

On day three, the hamburger mixture is scooped onto the cabbage leaves and tightly rolled. An ice cream scoop is used so that all the Cabbage Rolls have the same amount of the hamburger mixture. Twelve Cabbage Rolls are placed in each pan so they will bake evenly. The tomato soup diluted with water is mixed with sauerkraut and poured over the Cabbage Rolls, just covering them.

This is a variation from the recipe that is listed below but this technique has been adapted by the Heritage Church ladies, again a way to keep the rolls uniform. They are baked for 1½ hours at 350°. The pans are covered with foil before baking.

The oven they use at Das Kraut Haus will bake 40 pans at one time. Special pans are ordered for baking the Cabbage Rolls so after baking the foil is removed and a special cardboard lid is sealed to the pans. They are cooled overnight and placed in the freezer the next day.

The thawed Cabbage Rolls are then taken to the Heritage Church chalet during the Fest where they are reheated. They are placed in electric frying pans and more of tomato soup and sauerkraut sauce are poured on top of them. They are then reheated and held at 350 degrees before they are sold.

Because a certain quantity is made each year when they are sold out the chalet is closed. The volunteers who man the chalet during the 1 p.m. to closing shift on Sunday many times arrive to find it closed.

Full pans of heated or frozen pans, for take home, can also be purchased during Fest. This year makes the 47th year the dedicated church women have made Cabbage Rolls for Deutschesfest.

The Heritage Church food chalet on located at First Street near First Avenue.

Cabbage Roll Filling Recipe

  • 2½ lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1½ tsps. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2¼ tsp. minced onion
  • 1 large can tomato soup divided
  • 1 pint sauerkraut
Steam rice according to the directions on package. Mix rice with ground beef, salt, pepper and onion. Add 1/2 can tomato soup, diluted with equal amount of water. Place 1/3 cup of this mixture on a prepared cabbage leaf; roll up tightly and place side by side in a baking dish. Spread sauerkraut over the rolls; pour remaining soup and water mixture over them and bake for 1½ hours at 350°. Makes 25 Cabbage Rolls.

Preparing Cabbage Leaves

Remove core, steam head in large kettle, remove leaves as they separate easily from the head, wilt them by further steaming for several minutes. Drain, cool slightly. Then place meat mixture on a leaf and roll up.

Kraut Ranzas

Try this German treat prepared by St. Joseph's Catholic Church
Better than pizza pockets! Make a batch and freeze for after school snacks!

The Recipe

Bread Dough
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp. dry yeast
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. oil
  • 1 lb. lean hamburger
  • ¾ lb. cabbage, chopped
  • ½ lb. onion, chopped
  • 1 (no. 2½) can sauerkraut
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 or 2 drops of liquid smoke

Dough: Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar and salt, then flour and oil. Mix with spoon until smooth. Turn onto floured board. May have to add a little more flour just so dough will handle easily. Knead about 5 minutes until dough is smooth. Put into greased bowl, turn dough with greased side up. Cover with cloth, let rise until double.

Filling: Crumble hamburger into skillet. Brown until cooked. Drain off fat. Drain off juice on Kraut. Saute cabbage and onion in a little margarine until golden. Blend hamburger, kraut, cabbage, onions, and seasonings together. Cool slightly. Punch down dough-- divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll each into a 12 inch square; cut into nine 4-inch squares. Portion filling onto dough squares. Bring opposite corners of dough square together, being careful not to stretch dough. Pinch edges to seal completely. Turn rounded side up and place on greased baking sheet, leaving space between each. Let rise.

Bake 375° F for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to rack and brush with melted butter.

Cookbook Offer

Click to print out the order form. Opens in a new browser window Unser Tagelich Brot
The Staff of Life, Book III
is out of print.

A new book will be available Mid-April 2011.

Use the current order form for the Staff of Life Book IV, or to request ordering information for the new German Recipe Book.

American cuisine enjoyed by Odessa residents year-round. 200+ recipes compiled by friends and members of the Odessa Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Click on the book for an order form to print out.  

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