Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cabbage Pockets (Runzas, Bierocks)!

When I discovered wheat was a large part of my digestive troubles, I had two thoughts: 1) What about rolls at Thanksgiving?! (they were my favorite part of the meal), and 2) What about cabbage pockets?! I knew if I could come up with a gluten-free version of those two foods I would be OK. It took me a while to work up the courage, but I gave cabbage pockets a shot last night for the first time.

I made the dough with xanthan gum, but I'm trying to work that out of my diet too. I plan to make this recipe again using a slurry of boiling water and ground flaxseed in place of the xanthan gum. Once I do that, I'll give you an update on how it went, and will give you steps for doing that when you make these for yourself.

Let me first say, these made me so happy I almost cried. They tasted like home. They reminded me of my time in school (they made these quite often for school lunch), and they reminded me of my Grandma who made the best cabbage pockets in the world. My mom's cabbage pockets come close, but no one makes them like Grandma did! Once I tasted them, I knew my husband would like them. I was not sure what my kids would think. They had never even had a cabbage pocket before, so I didn't know what they would think of my new version. My four-year-old took a bite and said, "Mom, why haven't we had this food before?" My two-year-old ate hers up too...a rare thing for her to eat much of anything in the evenings.

Call them what you will: cabbage pockets, runzas, bierocks. I call them DELICIOUS!

***Cabbage Pockets

Makes 8-9 pockets, and enough filling to freeze for future use. If you want just enough filling for this recipe, cut filling recipe in half.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
3-4 Tbsp. dry powdered milk, or dry dairy-free milk powder 
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast, or two packages yeast
1 tsp. honey (or 2 tsp. sugar)
1 Tbsp. oil
3 tsp. cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
Extra tapioca flour for rolling out dough

1 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing tops of pockets

2 pounds ground beef
1 head cabbage, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper as desired

In large pot, brown ground beef. Drain off fat. Add cabbage, onion and desired salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook until onions and cabbage are tender. Stir occasionally.

While beef-cabbage mixture is cooking, mix dry ingredients for dough in large mixing bowl. Add honey, vinegar, oil and water. Mix until soft dough forms. Divide dough into 8-9 pieces. On clean surface lightly floured with tapioca starch, roll dough into squares about 1/4 inch thick. In center of dough, spoon on some of the beef-cabbage mixture. Do not over-fill as this causes the dough to break. (Darn fragile GF dough!). Fold dough over mixture and fold ends underneath (see picture above to give you an idea of what they should look like). Brush melted butter over the tops of the cabbage pockets to help them brown in the oven.

Bake 15-20 minutes on greased baking sheet or non-stick baking sheet, or until dough begins to brown slightly (it will be very light brown). For a true test of "doneness," check out the bottom of the cabbage pocket. It should be nice and golden brown.



  1. I would think with ground flaxseed you'd have to use a lot more of it to get the same binding / dough elasticity as with the xanthum gum. Any thoughts on using Agar Agar or Guar Gum? No practical experience here just from a pure chemistry standpoint I'm not sure how well flaxseed would substitute.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Scotty! I know ground flaxseed mixed with boiling water makes a glue-like paste, but it tends to make dough stiff. I think that guar gum works pretty similarly to xanthan gum - you can use the same amount of that instead, if you'd prefer. Thanks for stopping by my blog!