Country of Origin:
1 hour and 45 minutes
Note: The ingredients can be halved or quartered based on the desired quantity.
5 pounds ground beef
1 8-ounce package dry French Onion soup mix
Salt and black pepper to taste (lots of pepper)
4 medium heads of green cabbage, finely chopped
Sweet bread dough:
4 tablespoons dry yeast (4 packages)
6 cups warm water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered milk
1 to 2 teaspoons salt (palm-full)
18 cups of bread flour
For the filling:
1. Brown hamburger and soup mix, then drain.
2. Mix in chopped cabbage, salt, and pepper; cook just until cabbage is translucent. Drain again.
3. Cool filling mix quickly by pouring into a bucket of ice water. Not doing this causes the cooked hamburger to turn unappetizingly pink, even though it is fully cooked. The heat of the meat mixture should melt the ice cubes in the water.
For the sweet bread dough:
1. Mix all bread ingredients, except flour, and whisk. Allow yeast to bubble.
2. Stir in flour once yeast stops bubbling.
3. Knead until dough is satiny smooth, not sticky and not stiff. There is no need to let the dough rise.
4. Roll dough VERY thin, and cut into 4" x 10" rectangles.
Assemble the cabbage burgers:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Drain the hamburger mixture a third time, making sure there is absolutely no remaining grease or liquid.
3. Put a dough rectangle on a greased cookie sheet.
4. Spoon the hamburger mixture onto one end of the rectangle, then fold over the other side and pinch or seal all the seams to close. Result should be a 4" x 4" square with the filling completely enclosed by dough.
5. Place 9 cabbage burgers on a single large cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until well browned.
7. Serve when ready or let cool and freeze for later.
What makes this recipe special?
This recipe was given to me (used with permission) by owners of a now-defunct restaurant called Cabbage Patch in my home town of Torrington, Wyoming. My mom would buy them by the dozen and keep them on-hand in our freezer. They're best when eaten right out of the oven, but this is an industrial-size recipe and perfect for making a large quantity and then freezing them for microwaving later. The Wikipedia entry for Runza provides an overview of the history (German-Russian), along with photos and other versions of the recipe. The traditional version of the filling is ground beef, shredded cabbage, onions, salt, and lots (LOTS) of pepper. Variations on the filling can include Swiss or cheddar cheese, sweet or jalapeno peppers, and mushrooms.