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Classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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Indulge in the comforting flavors of traditional stuffed cabbage rolls. Tender cabbage leaves are filled with a savory mixture of ground pork and rice, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. This classic dish is perfect for family dinners or special occasions. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a hearty and satisfying meal that will impress your loved ones.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill or dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Cabbage
  2. Core the Cabbage: Remove the core using a sharp knife.
  3. Blanch the Cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the whole cabbage into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until the outer leaves are soft and pliable. Remove and peel off the softened leaves. Repeat until you have about 12-15 leaves. Set aside to cool.
  4. Make the Filling
  5. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ground beef, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, chopped onion, rice, parsley flakes, salt, dill, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  6. Assemble the Rolls
  7. Prepare the Leaves: Trim the thick vein from the bottom of each leaf.
  8. Fill the Leaves: Place 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Fold the sides over the filling and roll up from the bottom, tucking in the sides to enclose the filling.
  9. Cook the Rolls
  10. Layer the Rolls: Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven. Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in a single layer. If necessary, make a second layer.
  11. Add Sauce: Pour the remaining tomato sauce and drained diced tomatoes over the rolls. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. If the sauce doesn’t cover the rolls, add a little water until just covered.
  12. Simmer: Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat and rice are cooked and the cabbage is tender.
  13. Serve
  14. Carefully remove the cabbage rolls with a slotted spoon and place them on a serving platter. Spoon some sauce from the pot over the rolls before serving.

Cook’s Tips and Variations

  • Meat Variations: Substitute the ground pork and beef with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
  • Rice Alternatives: Use brown rice or a mix of wild and white rice for added texture and nutrition.
  • Vegetarian Option: Replace the meat with a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, cooked lentils, and additional vegetables.

FAQs

  • Can I make stuffed cabbage rolls ahead of time? Yes, prepare and assemble the rolls in the pot, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking. Extend the cooking time slightly if starting from a cold state.
  • Can I freeze stuffed cabbage rolls? Yes, freeze the uncooked rolls on a baking sheet until solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Can I use instant rice? Yes, cook instant rice according to package instructions before mixing with the meat and other filling ingredients.

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a timeless classic that bring comfort and satisfaction to any meal. With their savory filling and rich tomato sauce, they showcase the beauty of homemade cooking. Whether for a special occasion or a cozy family dinner, these cabbage rolls are sure to become a cherished favorite. Enjoy the process of creating this delicious dish and savor every bite of the flavorful result!

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