While I am not a huge fan of cabbage, stuffed cabbage is an exception. I was planning to make blue cheese coleslaw to go with fried chicken (will post those recipes soon), and I knew I wouldn’t use a whole head of cabbage, so I decided to make stuffed cabbage; I also had leftover Jasmine rice from dinner the night before. I only made half a batch (as you will see from the photos), but the recipe listed here makes a full batch. These freeze very well and make a great weeknight meal because you get your meat and vegetables all in one dish. I use plain tomato sauce – straight from the can, because I think the rolls themselves should be the star, but you can substitute your own favorite tomato sauce. Also, I love the flavor of parsley root, but it can be difficult to find, you can substitute parsnips if you prefer. Try to match up the size of your root vegetables so that you end up with nearly equal amounts when shredded. The red pepper, fennel, and coriander are all optional, but I think they add tremendously to the flavor.
- 1 Head Savoy Cabbage
- 1 lb. Ground Beef (or use 1/2 lb. Ground Beef and 1/2 lb. Ground Pork
- 1 Small Onion – finely chopped
- 1 Medium Carrot – Shredded or grated (use a mandolin or just a vegetable peeler)
- 1 Lg. Celery Stalk – very finely sliced
- 2 Parsley Roots (or Parsnips)- Shredded or grated
- 1 Clove of Garlic – finely chopped
- 1 1/4 Cup Cooked Rice (white or brown)
- 2 TBS. Tomato Paste
- 2 15 oz. Cans of Tomato Sauce (or 3-4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce)
- 2 TBS. Olive Oil
- 1 TBS. Dried Parsley (2 TBS. fresh)
- 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. Coriander Seed (optional)
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Pepper
If you don’t have cooked rice on hand, begin by cooking the rice and chopping, grating the vegetables. For the cabbage leaves, you have two options: if you are making a relatively small batch (as I did), you can remove the leaves individually from the head, place in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, then allow to sit for 10 minutes, if making a large batch, remove the core of the cabbage and place the entire cabbage in a pot of boiling water, boil until leaves are tender about 10-15 minutes, remove leaves individually and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add shredded carrot, parsley root or parsnips, and celery; saute for another 2 minutes.Transfer vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl. In a spice grinder, grind red pepper, fennel seed, and coriander seed (if using). Add meat, rice, spices (including salt and pepper) and tomato paste to bowl with vegetables. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour about half of the tomato sauce into your large saute pan and set aside. Place one cabbage leaf on a cutting board or clean work surface. If you did not remove the core from the entire head, cut out the section of core from the leaf. This will leave a “V” shaped gap at the bottom of your leaf; overlap the two pieces to eliminate the gap.
Place a scoop (about 1/4-1/3 cup depending on size of cabbage leaf) of filling about 2 inches from the base of the leaf. Shape into a round log, leaving 1-2 inches of leaf on each side (see below).Rolling the cabbage: beginning at the bottom, roll the leaf over the filling, after the first roll, tuck in the two sides and continue to roll. Place roll in saucepan with tomato sauce. Repeat process until all cabbage leaves are rolled or until you run out of filling. It’s OK to pack the rolls tightly into the pan. Pour remaining tomato sauce over rolls so they are well covered (spoon some sauce from the bottom of pan if necessary). Cover pan with a lid. Turn heat to medium until sauce begins to bubble (about 5 minutes – check occasionally), then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes. Serve immediately, spooning extra sauce over rolls as desired.