Remembering Cabbage Rolls

Those cabbage rolls that held a traditional place at every special meal are back!  The flavor and texture is the same tried and true recipe…with a bit of a “twist.”  I used extra lean ground beef and ground my own pork tenderloin for a huge fat reduction that you cannot taste!

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Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can of stewed tomatoes (I use the ones infused with garlic and olive oil)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onions.  Cook stirring for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir another minute.  Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and salt.  Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Cabbage Rolls

1 cup yellow onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup extra lean ground beef
1 cup ground pork (to make it lean, ground your own)
1 cup long grain rice cooked
1/3 cup ketchup (non-smokey BBQ sauce works well, too)
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon each of oregano, thyme and onion powder

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Use a put large enough to fit the entire large head of cabbage inside.  Fill with water and add the cabbage.  Allow to boil gently for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand to cool and soften further.  Drain water and gently remove the leaves in the natural layers and set aside for rolling later.

Use the cabbage water to cook your rice.  It adds nutrients and flavor.

Saute the onions in a little butter until very well done…almost caramelized.  Add the garlic and cool.

Combine the onion mixture, the two meats, cooked rice, ketchup, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and other spices.

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At this point, I always take some of the meat mixture and fry it up to test for flavor.  I have done this, so you shouldn’t need to…but it always is better to err on the side of caution.  You are using a lot of time and ingredients.

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Spray your baking dish with non-stick spray and pour enough of the sauce to cover the bottom.

Remove the vein from cabbage leaves.  Spoon the filling into the center of the cabbage leaves and roll each into a neat cylinder and place in a layer on the sauce in the baking dish.

I use two baking dishes instead of one large one. This way, you have the option of freezing one, it takes less time to cook and you can space your cabbage rolls better so they are not cramped.

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Top with the remaining sauce.  Place any remaining cabbage leaves over the top to prevent the rolls underneath to burn.

Cover with foil and bake in for about 2 hours.