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Patch’s Tavern: Stuffed Cabbage

It's a simply amazing dish.

This is a great recipe and you will love it! Stuffed cabbage is the epitome of comfort food. For this satisfying dish, cabbage leaves are stuffed with a seasoned mixture of rice and ground beef.

Stuffed cabbage, also known as cabbage rolls, is a dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. This dish is common to the ethnic cuisines of the Balkans and parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as Finland and Sweden where it's known as kaalikääryle. The recipe varies from country to country, region to region, and family to family.  In Poland they call stuffed cabbage gołąbki (gaw-WOHMP-kee), which literally means "little pigeons." In Czechoslovakia, it's holubky, while in Serbia and Croatia it is referred to as sarma. In Romania, stuffed cabbage is called sarmale, and in Russia; lenivye golubtsy (lazy cabbage rolls). This recipe for Lithuanian stuffed cabbage is known as balandeliai or "little doves." Usually it’s the sauce that sets them apart.

This is one of my favorite dishes growing up. My Grandma Rose use to make it all the time when I was a little girl. This recipe was very tasty and simple to prepare, but plan ahead as it takes time to cook. Prep time is about 45 minutes, with cook time, 2 hours. You can also cook it in a crock pot and let it cook all day. This is one of the best stuffed cabbage recipe I've ever tried. I made this dish for the first time last week.  I ended up eating it for dinner every night for the week and the leftovers were better each night.

Happy cooking and eating!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 whole head cabbage, about 4 pounds

  Filling:

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 large grated onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons raw rice
  • 1 tablespoon matzoh meal
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:
·        (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
·        1 finely chopped large onion
·        1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
·        1/4 cup lemon juice
·        1/4 cup white sugar
·        1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
·        1 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid)
·        1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
·        1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 20 leaves. 

When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through. 

To make the sauce: Place tomatoes and their juices in a medium-large saucepan. Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in onion, apple, lemon juice, white and brown sugars, sour salt, kosher salt and pepper, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes longer. Add more sugar or more lemon juice for the sweet-sour taste you prefer. Set sauce aside. 

To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix ground beef, grated onion, eggs, rice, if using, matzoh meal, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mixing thoroughly. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough. 

To assemble the rolls: Place about 1/2-cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little package. 

Spoon thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish or Dutch oven. Chop any remaining cabbage leaves and place over the sauce. 

Arrange cabbage rolls, seam-side down, on top of the chopped cabbage leaves in as many layers as necessary. Pour remaining sauce over stuffed cabbage. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until filling is cooked and cabbage is tender. Enjoy!!

Katherine McKnight July 29, 2012 at 04:01 PM
There are ingredients listed in the preparation of Cabbage Rolls that are not mentioned in the list of ingredients.
Katherine, Thank you very much for your comment. Apologies, the following ingredients were omitted from the above recipe. Hard to make Stuffed Cabbage without the sauce :-) :Sauce: • (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes • 1 finely chopped large onion • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated • 1/4 cup lemon juice • 1/4 cup white sugar • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar • 1 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid) • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt • 1/4 teaspoon pepper Best to all, Jill Lewis
Judy Lewis August 01, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Great recipe, Jill. Your grandmother would gevle!

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