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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Stuffed cabbage rolls are a traditional dish enjoyed in many cultures, featuring tender cabbage leaves wrapped around a savory mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. This recipe is perfect for a comforting family dinner or a special occasion. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making these delicious stuffed cabbage rolls.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cabbage (3 pounds)
  • 1/2 pound uncooked ground beef
  • 1/2 pound uncooked ground pork
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh dill or dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Cabbage Leaves

  1. Boil the Cabbage:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully remove the core from the cabbage head and place the whole cabbage in the boiling water. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until the outer leaves are tender and pliable.
  2. Separate the Leaves:
    • Remove the cabbage from the pot and let it cool slightly. Carefully separate the leaves, cutting out the thick vein from the center of each leaf if necessary to make them easier to roll. Set aside about 12 large leaves.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Mix the Meat and Rice:
    • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, chopped onion, uncooked rice, dried parsley flakes, salt, dill, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Assemble the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Fill the Cabbage Leaves:
    • Place about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides and roll up tightly, like a burrito.
  2. Place in Baking Dish:
    • Arrange the cabbage rolls seam-side down in a large baking dish or Dutch oven.

Step 4: Prepare the Sauce

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a medium bowl, combine the remaining tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with their juice, and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Pour Over Cabbage Rolls:
    • Pour the tomato mixture over the cabbage rolls, ensuring they are well-covered.

Step 5: Cook the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Bake:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Plate the Cabbage Rolls:
    • Carefully remove the cabbage rolls from the baking dish and place them on a serving platter.
  2. Garnish and Serve:
    • Spoon the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Garnish with additional fresh dill if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Cabbage Leaves: If the leaves are too stiff to roll, return the cabbage to the boiling water for a few more minutes.
  • Filling: Ensure the meat mixture is well-seasoned before rolling into the cabbage leaves for the best flavor.

Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option:
    • Replace the meat with a mixture of cooked lentils, mushrooms, and quinoa or rice for a vegetarian version.
  • Different Sauces:
    • Experiment with different types of tomato-based sauces, such as marinara or a homemade sauce with fresh herbs and spices.
  • Spicy Version:
    • Add more cayenne pepper or a chopped jalapeño to the filling for a spicier version.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make these cabbage rolls ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the cabbage rolls and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before baking. This makes them a great make-ahead meal for busy days.

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2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover cabbage rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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3. Can I freeze cabbage rolls?

Yes, you can freeze cooked cabbage rolls. Let them cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat before serving.

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4. What can I serve with stuffed cabbage rolls?

Stuffed cabbage rolls are hearty on their own but pair well with a fresh green salad, mashed potatoes, or steamed vegetables.

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5. Can I use different types of meat?

Yes, you can use all ground beef, ground turkey, or even ground lamb in place of the beef and pork mixture.

The Comfort of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic comfort food that brings warmth and satisfaction with every bite. The combination of tender cabbage leaves, savory meat filling, and rich tomato sauce creates a dish that is both hearty and flavorful. This recipe is perfect for family dinners, gatherings, or anytime you crave a comforting and delicious meal.

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Tips for Success

  1. Choose Fresh Cabbage: Fresh cabbage leaves are easier to work with and will result in a more tender roll.
  2. Season Generously: Ensure the filling is well-seasoned for the best flavor.
  3. Bake Slowly: Baking the cabbage rolls slowly allows the flavors to meld together and ensures the cabbage is tender.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a classic and comforting dish that is perfect for any occasion. With their combination of tender cabbage, savory meat filling, and rich tomato sauce, these rolls are sure to be a hit with family and friends. Whether you’re making them for a cozy dinner or a special gathering, this recipe is simple to prepare and full of delicious flavors. Give these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls a try and enjoy a satisfying and hearty meal. Happy cooking!