California Central Coast Recipes
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Almost everyone has had these in the past. This is our recipe. The neat thing about this recipe is that it gets better if made in advance and the cabbage rolls have enough time to soak up the flavors of the homemade tomato sauce. And you don't need to buy higher-priced cuts of meat. Actually the cheaper cuts have a better flavor for this dish! My filling uses both beef and pork along with sauteed onions, garlic, cooked white rice, Italian parsley and eggs.
This year when I made these, because of bad weather and harsh growing conditions, the cabbages were the most expensive items! This recipe makes sixteen large-sized cabbage rolls. --So it's very inexpensive for a crowd.
Preparation time: 1 hour Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the Sauce
3 to 4 Tablespoons Extra virgin Olive Oil
4 large cloves Garlic , peeled and chopped
4 cans (14.5 ounce)Whole tomatoes (no salt or low salt) and juices , lightly chopped
1 (28 ounce) Canned Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian parsley , rinsed and chopped
3 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 teaspoons Dried Italian Seasoning
Salt and Freshly cracked Black pepper to taste
For the Filling
1-1/3 pounds ground beef
1-1/3 pounds ground pork (or mild pork sausage)
4 Tablespoons Extra virgin Olive oil
2 medium white onions , peeled and chopped
4 cloves Garlic , peeled and minced
2 eggs,, beaten
1 cup Italian parsley , rinsed and chopped
6 Cups cooked white rice
Salt and pepper to taste
16 Cabbage leaves , (2-3 large head cabbages) rinsed and patted dry
Stainless steel or glass baking pan large enough to hold the rolled cabbage leaves and sauce.
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
--For the Sauce
2 In a large stockpot, add the olive oil to the pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and saute until lightly golden and fragrant. Add in the lightly chopped tomatoes and their juices, stirring and picking up the garlic pieces from the bottom of the pan and distributing them throughout the tomatoes.
3 Add in at least half of the can of crushed tomatoes and stir well. If you want more sauce --or extra sauce, add the entire can of crushed tomatoes. Continue to simmer the sauce and add the Italian parsley, oregano and Italian seasoning, stirring well to amalgamate.
4 Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Cover and let the sauce simmer on low heat while preparing the rest of the recipe.When the sauce is your desired consistency, remove from heat and set aside.
-- For the Filling-
5 In a large stockpot, heat water over high heat to boiling to lightly parboil the cabbage leaves in.
6 In a large skillet or stockpot, add in the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add in the onion and saute until softened and translucent. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
7 Wash the cabbages and pat dry. Carefully remove any outer damaged leaves, pulling gently away from the core. Use the large leaves that are just inside the heavier outer leaves. You should get at least 4-6 large usable leaves from each head. Stack and set aside.
8 When the water is boiling, add a 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Ad 2-3 of the cabbage leaves at a time to the boiling water and parboil 2-3 minutes. Gently remove the leaves from the pot with tongs and immediately plunge into cold or iced water to stop the cooking process, then remove from cold water and set on paper towels to dry. Continue to parboil the leaves--2-3 leaves at a time so not to over-crowd in the above manner. Set stacked leaves aside when done parboiling.
9 In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef and pork and mix well to distribute each meat's mixture thoroughly with the other meat. Add in the cooled onion and garlic and mix well. Add in the cooked rice and mix well evenly.
10 Add in the beaten eggs and mix well to combine. Add in the parsley and again mix well to amalgamate. Generously add salt and pepper to the mixture. Thoroughly stir well. (If uncertain about the meats' seasonings' strength, you might want to cook a little piece of the meat mixture to test for flavor.) Correct seasonings to personal taste.
11 In the baking pan, spoon some tablespoons of sauce on the bottom to coat the pan and prevent the cabbage rolls' leaves from sticking.
- -To roll the cabbage leaves.
12 Staring at the thickest part of the leaf (usually the stem) place a generous half-cup of meat mixture at the base of the thickest part of the leaf. Fold in the sides over and carefully roll up into a a rolled bundle. Set each roll seam-side down into the pan. Place each roll side by side until pan is filled with rolled filled cabbage rolls.
13 Dribble the sauce over the cabbage rolls and sides of the pan to make a sauced mileau for the cabbage rolls to cook and steam in.
14 Bake covered, at 350 degrees for an hour and a half to two hours depending on density of cabbage meat mixture and rolls. Test for done-ness with a meat thermometer or by cutting one of the rolls.
15 The cabbage rolls are even tastier the second day after the cabbage rolls have sat overnight in the sauce and absorbed the sauce's flavors and meat mixture's seasonings.
16 Serve with some crusty bread and a nice red wine. Enjoy!
Serve with a rustic red wine such as a Sangiovese or Chianti