Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This Czech dish was a favorite of my family for holiday occasions. Both of my Grandmothers made a version.

Ingredients

  • 12 cabbage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in a 1/4 cup of water (optional, see #8 in directions below)

Filling:

  • 1 pound of ground beef (alternative: 1/2 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb ground pork)
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt

Sauce:

  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drop the cabbage leaves into boiling salted water: cover and let boil for 3 minutes to soften. Remove and drain well.
  3. Combine the ingredients for the filling and mix well.
  4. Place a portion of filling in the center of each of the cabbage leaves.
  5. Fold each leaf like a burrito and place in a baking dish.
  6. Combine the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the cabbage rolls.
  7. Bake, covered for 45 minutes.
  8. Optional: To thicken the sauce, remove the cabbage rolls, set aside, and transfer the sauce to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until thickened.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. Do not overcook the cabbage leaves when you boil them. The intent is merely to soften them so they fold.
  2. I recommend using the 80% lean ground beef (not the leaner stuff that is 90 or 93%). The leaner ground beef tends to get a bit dry during the baking process. Alternatively, you can do a ground mixture of 1/2 beef and 1/2 pork. The pork doesn’t seem to dry out as fast.
  3. Don’t overstuff your rolls. One pound of ground meat mixture should stuff 12 cabbage leaves. If it doesn’t you’ve gotten greedy and overstuffed.
  4. If you find the sauce a little sweet, you can reduce or eliminate the sugar the next time. Or, add some salt to this batch.