I was out wandering the streets when I first learned the apocalypse was upon us. (I was at the farmer’s market.) In my haste and greed I bought two heads of cabbage, and pretty much everything else I could see. We are still eating much of what I bought in that shopping frenzy, and we’re almost through it! Good times.
No one was enthused to hear I was making stuffed cabbage rolls, but we had a lot of cabbage to eat. These were so good my daughter asked if there were leftovers she could have for breakfast. We INHALED them with as much class and good taste as we could muster.
Traditionally they’re stuffed with a mixture of meat and rice, but I don’t love meat and rice cooked together, so I borrowed from meatball recipes the world over and used some bread crumbs instead. Topped with a little parmesan cheese, we barbarians were so happy.
This isn’t a recipe that needs to be followed exactly. Probably the only non-negotiables are the tomatoes, the meat, and the cabbage. You can use all pork, or all beef, but if you’re feeling wishy-washy on the subject, I recommend pork.
1- 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 onion, diced
1/3-1/2 cup breadcrumbs (obviously I didn’t measure, sorry!)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Parmesan cheese to serve
1. Make the tomato sauce first. Puree the canned tomatoes. In a skillet, Heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic. Toss in the tomatoes after the garlic starts to smell great but before it has a chance to burn. Add the cayenne. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, and then season it with salt and pepper.
2. Make the meat filling. Mix together the ground meat, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, and cinnamon. Take a little scoop out and fry it in a pan or microwave it so that you can taste it for seasoning, then adjust it as needed. Set it aside.
3. Boil the cabbage leaves. Heat a big pot of water to a boil and put the cabbage in. When the outer leaves look like they’ve softened enough to be pliable, take the cabbage out and cut the outer leaves off. Return the cabbage to the water and keep peeling leaves off. I burned my fingers a bit at this point, but you’ve been warned. I don’t know exactly how many leaves you’ll need, but you can always use leftovers for something else. At the base of each leaf the rib get’s a little too thick and fibrous, so trim that off too make it easier to roll now and easier to chew later.
4. How much meat filling you use per leaf depends on the size of the leaf, but if you’ve ever rolled a burrito, it’s the same principle. Fold the sides in, and roll it up. Put the rolls, seam side down, in a baking dish. When you’re done, top it with the tomato sauce and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the pan with parchment paper and then a layer of aluminum foil and bake for an hour.
We served ours with sweet potatoes fries and a salad. The plan was for potatoes au gratin, but those didn’t finish cooking until an hour after dinner! I could plan better.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!