Do you love cabbage? It’s one of those low calorie, high vitamin-and-mineral value veggies that we’d all do well to befriend, and right now especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic, because cabbages can outlast a host of other less hardy vegetables.
Therefore, when one of my girlfriends posted a photo of her stuffed cabbage rolls and mentioned how it made her house smell great, it really piqued my interest! Although she’s made cabbage rolls for so long she didn’t have a detailed recipe, she told me roughly how she made hers. I measured as I went, and as our own home began to fill up with the wonderful aroma of baking rolls, I knew this was going to be my entry for this Saturday’s recipe contest!
Roasted Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
(Makes 12-14 rolls; Alan ate 3 and I ate 2, so your guess is as good as mine
as to how many “servings” it makes)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Start by preparing 1.5 cups of cooked rice (Brown or white; prepare according to the directions on your package. Don’t overcook it! Shouldn’t take more than 20 mins. maximum.)
Next, prepare the cabbage leaves: In a large cooking pot, boil and lightly salt 2 cups of water. If you have a water boiler for coffee, fill that with 2 cups of water and get that boiling too.
Separate the largest 12-14 cabbage leaves, cut out the tough, white end (where they connected to the head) and add the leaves to the pot of boiling, salted water. Pour the additional two cups of boiling water (from your water heater) over the cabbage leaves, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately drain and set out the leaves on a clean surface to cool.
In a skillet, lightly brown together:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground hamburger
1 small/medium onion chopped
1 tablespoon crushed garlic (about half that if you’re pressing fresh)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I use Montreal steak seasoning, but suit yourself!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1.5 cups cooked white (or brown) rice
Mix until just stirred together. Nothing has to be completely cooked.
On top of each cabbage leaf, add 1/3 cup of the meat filling.
Roll the cabbage leaves, folding in the edges and turn them upside down in a 11X14″ baking pan. (Some people secure them with toothpicks, and they are neater that way, but you don’t have to do this if you’re careful scooping them out of the pan after they bake.)
Arrange them in the baking dish and pour one can (or up to two cups) of seasoned tomato sauce over the top. I didn’t have tomato sauce, so I used spaghetti sauce, which worked fine; use whatever you have! Some people like tomato soup, although that often has high fructose corn syrup in it. Suit yourself!
Cover with aluminum foil (but don’t let it touch the tomato sauce). Bake for 1 hour at 350°F.
Serve piping hot. Annalee was visitng with friends in Hungary where they served cabbage rolls with sour cream, so she says she always serves them that way. I used Greek yogurt instead (given the current COVID crisis and no sour cream on hand). One of the beautiful things about cooking is that most recipes are very adaptable and forgiving!
Annalee often serves hers with the rest of the cabbage sauteed with caramelized onions, which I tried and is marvelous!
By the way, Annalee Davis is also the author of the book He Left, God Stayed, which I reviewed a few months ago:
If you’ve been left and are feeling the sting of tragic loss, please consider looking into her very helpful and comforting book!
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
(I also ended up serving mine with a little toasted whole-grain bread, fresh apples, and sparkling grape juice on another occasion. It’s delicious any old way!)