I never thought I’d say that a meat-stuffed cabbage would be my new favorite dish, but it is true. I guess that’s what living in a house with three guys will do to you! I’d tried a recipe for stuffed cabbage a while back, and I didn’t like it. It used bratwurst, which I’m not the biggest fan of in the first place. Plus, I think the dish and I had just gotten off on the wrong foot to begin with. Cabbage rolls were always something I saw other families eating, and were kind of grossed out by. Meat and cabbage, okay. But, to slather it in tomato sauce? Weird.
I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I had originally written in Swedish meatballs into our menu for the week, but decided to swap it out for the cabbage rolls where the main ingredients (ground pork and beef) were the same. Completely and totally blew everyone away! They are braised in red wine, and that really does something for the cabbage. Cabbage can be such a harsh flavor, but the wine balances it right out. And, the cabbage mellows the wine out. It’s a win-win! The rice combined with the ground meats really lightens up the texture of the filling, too. Often meat fillings can be so dense and rubbery – this was just right. Also, I’m pleased to report that the tomato sauce fits right in perfectly. You really can’t go wrong when the base for the sauce is the delicious beefy, wine-y braising liquid. If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas Eve supper, look no further. With a little bit of prep work leafing the head of cabbage (that I actually found quite fun!), this is a dinner that takes care of itself on the stove top – so you can spend more time doing the fun stuff. Plus, the scent of it bubbling away is intoxicating…
Also, I finally hopped on the Facebook bandwagon. Stop by and say howdy over there, if you are so inclined. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!
1 large head cabbage
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 large egg
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine (replace with broth if you prefer not using wine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
Remove the core from the cabbage and drop the entire head into a large pot of lightly salted simmering water. Cook for a few minutes, then start to pull off the outer leaves. My pot was a bit on the small side, so I turned the cabbage around with a wooden spoon from time to time.
Combine the beef, pork, rice, onion, garlic, parsley, egg, paprika, caraway seed, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix together until everything is well combined.
Cut the rib out of the leaf to about half way up. Bring the sides in a bit and position the filling over the cut. The amount of filling will depend on the size of the leaf; around 1/3 cup. Bring the bottom cut pieces of cabbage leaf up over the meat, and bring in the sides, then roll it up beginning at the bottom finishing with the loose end underneath the roll. Continue until the rest of the filling is used up.
Cut up the remaining cabbage into strips and place those into the bottom of a heavy pot or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Arrange the cabbage rolls over the cut leaves, then pour the beef broth and wine (if using) over the rolls.
Cover the pot and turn on the heat to low. Cook for about 3 hours or until the rice is tender.
Arrange the cabbage rolls and the cut cabbage strips onto a warmed platter.
Stir together the tomato paste and flour until you have a smooth paste. Stir a few spoons of hot broth into the mixture, then return all of it to the pot. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring all the time. Cook for another minute or two, adjust the seasoning if necessary, then spoon the sauce over the cabbage rolls.
Source: adapted from Cooking Weekends