My Aunt Mary used to make Cabbage Rolls all the time for us. I never thought about how she made them or how long it took to cook them, until I did it myself. It is pretty simple and straight forward. The only part that is a little difficult is pulling the leaves off the cabbage without taring them. Yep, that’s the tricky part. I suggest you buy 2 heads of cabbage, unless you can find 1 really big one. I promise though that all the time you spend pulling leaves off the cabbage will be well worth it. Cabbage Rolls are delicious! I usually don’t measure when I’m cooking, only when baking. So I am going to do my best at giving you measurements, so let’s get started!
- 2 lbs of Ground Round (it doesn’t have as much fat, but feel free to use ground turkey or ground beef)
- 1 1/2 to 2- 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes, crushed or any tomatoes of your choosing)
- 1 medium sized onion
- 4 garlic clove
- Olive Oil (vegetable oil is fine also)
- 1 large or 2 small heads of cabbage
- 3/4 cup cooked rice
- 4 oz Tomato Paste
Chop up the onion and garlic, add about a 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and saute on medium heat until the onion start to look clear (use half the onion and 2 garlic cloves). Then add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes (10 minutes if you want a thicker sauce), letting the sauce cook down a little bit. Turn stove eye down to warm and put a lid on the pan.
In skillet add 1 tbs of olive oil. Then add the remaining chopped onion and garlic, and saute until the onion starts to look clear. Add the tomato paste and mix together well and then set the pan aside til later.
Remove the bad leaves from the cabbage, and then take a sharp knife and cut out the core. Be careful not not to cut it in half, because we need the leaves whole. Then remove cabbage leaves one at a time. Be careful to keep each leaf whole, because we will be using them to roll our meat filling in.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the cabbage leaves in the boiling water and blanch for about 5 minutes. We want the leaves pliable, so we can roll the meat mixture in them. Take the cabbage leaves out of the hot water and put them in a bowl gently, and run cold water over them until they are cool to the touch. Strain all the water off the leaves and sit aside while we prepare the meat mixture.
In a large bowl mix together your hamburger meat, the cooked rice, onion, garlic and tomato paste mixture. Add about 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and mix well. (I mix the hamburger mixture with my hands. It is messy, but it works best and gets all the ingredients mixed well).
Ok, now we’re ready to put together our cabbage rolls. First preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and get out your baking dish. Line the bottom of you baking dish with a few of the cabbage leaves to keep from burning your cabbage rolls. Take your first cabbage leaf, lay it on a cutting board or plate. Get you knife and cut a little bit of the hard steam along the bottom of the vein. You will want to do this because it will make your cabbage rolls, roll more easily.
Take a scoop of the meat mixture (be careful not to put too much or you want be able to close it), and put it along the bottom, middle of the cabbage leaf. (I should’ve put a picture for this step, but I didn’t take one, sorry) Now we are going to roll it like you would if you were making a burrito. After you roll it up, tuck the ends under and lay it in the pan, folded side down. There you go you’ve rolled your first cabbage roll. Repeat, until you have all of your cabbage rolls rolled and in the baking dish.
Now take your tomato sauce mixture and pour it all over the top of your cabbage rolls. Make sure they are all covered. Pop them in the oven and cook them for about 1 hour, or until the meat is fully cooked, and enjoy!
Eat and Enjoy!