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Cabbage Rolls

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This stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is cabbage leaves filled with beef and rice, coated in a homemade tomato sauce and baked to perfection. A comfort food classic that’s hearty, delicious and simple to make.

I’ve been eating stuffed cabbage since I was a child, and I’ve been working on this recipe for a long time to create the ultimate rendition of cabbage rolls. Serve your stuffed cabbage rolls with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli, and watch the rave reviews pour in!
I grew up eating cabbage rolls, and I’ve had enough in my time to know the difference between a good cabbage roll and a less than stellar cabbage roll. My version of cabbage rolls features a flavorful beef and rice filling, and the rolls are cooked in a simple homemade tomato sauce for fabulous results.

What do traditional cabbage rolls contain?

Traditional cabbage rolls contain a mix of minced beef and pork. The meat is mixed with a grain like rice or barley, as well as parsley, salt, pepper, carrot, onion, and egg. The rolls are cooked in the oven or on the stove.

Are cabbage rolls Middle Eastern?

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a popular speciality in the Middle East as well. Though the method of preparation is similar to those from Poland and Ukraine, the flavor profile is quite distinct. In Lebanon, people use beef and lamb to make the best rolls. They mix the meat with rice, olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, and lemon.

What sauce do you use for cabbage rolls?

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Cabbage rolls require a special tomato sauce that’s made using a mix of different ingredients. We invite you to use store-bought or homemade tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice to create the best tasting concoction.

Ingredients

1 cup COOKED long-grain rice (or similar variety)
1.5 pounds lean ground beef (or ‘extra lean’)
1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 yellow onion , peeled and minced
⅓ cup parsley , roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic , minced
1.5 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
42 ounces tomato sauce , divided (Three 398 millilitre cans or 14 ounce cans (roughly 5 cups). See point 5 below in recipe ‘Notes.’)
1 medium head green cabbage (you’ll need about 18 leaves for the rolls and another 8 to 10 or so for the bottom of the dish and over top.)
half cup of water (leftover from boiling cabbage)
fresh dill , chopped (garnish, optional)

Directions

Cook rice per package instructions and lay to one side. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at this point too.
In a large bowl combine ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, egg, cooked rice, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, onion powder, red chili flakes (if using) and ½ cup of tomato sauce. Mix until combined.
In a large point of boiling water, add head of cabbage and boil for 8 to 10 minutes (carefully turn over partway through). Carefully remove. Don’t discard water because you will need to re-boil the cabbage as you start to peel off the leaves and you will need some of the water for your sauce.Note: Don’t fill pot all the way up because the cabbage will displace some of the water. Before boiling water, test how much the water will displace by placing the head of cabbage in the pot.
Once cabbage is cool enough to handle, carefully remove leaves and cut out core from each leaf. Once you start taking leaves off, you’ll likely need to add the cabbage back to the boiling water (to soften more leaves). Just boil for another bit, let cool enough to handle and continue removing leaves.
Place some cabbage leaves on the bottom of a deep 9″ x 13″ baking dish or roasting pan. Taking one leaf at a time, distribute about ¼ cup of ground beef mixture on top and wrap up (fold in sides and roll up, placing in prepared dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining ground beef mixture/leaves.
Combine remaining tomato sauce with ½ cup of cabbage water. Whisk to incorporate everything. Pour over top of cabbage rolls.

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