Some recipes just aren’t meant to be tampered with.
Like a song or a classic movie, we all have that one “something” that evokes great memories. For my husband, it’s his moms cabbage rolls. Every time he reminisces about them, he says he gets a little misty. Wiesia or “VICKY” as they call her in Australia is my Mother in law, she’s Polish, stands about 4ft 11″, very sweet, but you wouldn’t want to mess with her; we all joke that she could wrestle a crocodile to the ground and get the best of him. And she makes incredible Cabbage Rolls. This is one of those classic recipes that doesn’t need changing. Our only substitution is cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, but honestly, you cannot tell ANY difference in both taste and texture.
CABBAGE ROLL INGREDIENTS
2.5 lbs ground beef
1 large Cabbage
1 bag frozen cauliflower rice(we find frozen works better)
1/2 small onion finely diced
1.5 TBSP greek seasoning
1 garlic clove finely minced
1 tsp dried mixed or italian herbs
salt + pepper to taste (start with 1tsp salt and 1/2tsp of pepper and work from there)
CABBAGE ROLL INSTRUCTIONS
- Place bag of frozen cauliflower in the microwave for 15mins.
- In a small skillet, saute onions until they have softened and are starting to get some color.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all of the cabbage roll ingredients together(except the cabbage) and mix until well incorporated. A handy tip for seasoning(salt/pepper) is to fry off a small piece of meat and taste it and adjust seasoning accordingly to your taste.
- Half fill a Large Pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Cut the core of the cabbage and remove. Add cabbage to the water core side down.
Reduce water to a steady simmer, cover with a lid for 10 mins. After 10 mins, carefully remove cabbage, but keep the water simmering.
- With 2 forks, gently loosen the leaves working from the middle outwards. Let cabbage cool for a few minutes. Remove the large green outside leaves and put aside. We will use those later.
- Once cabbage is still hot but manageable, carefully start to remove leaves and stack them on a plate or dish towel. If the leaves start getting hard to remove, place the cabbage back into the hot water for 5 mins to re-soften. Do this until you are down to leaves that are too small to use.
- With the cabbage leaves scoop side facing down, gently shave the hard white rib down with a knife and make a small incision vertically. This will make it easier to fold and roll the cabbage leaves, otherwise it can be quite tough to do.
- Using a large ice-cream scoop, ball up a heaping scoop of meat filling and place it on 1 cabbage leaf, roll it over once to cover filling, fold in the sides, and then roll like a burrito or wrap. (As pictured above) Then place in a large baking dish. We had to use 2 baking dishes. (Alternatively you can do the stovetop version below and stack them in a large pot)
- Do this until all leaves and meat filling is gone. We were able to make 12 large cabbage rolls.
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 can of tomato paste
5 beef stock/boullion cubes
2 TBSP heavy whipping cream
1 tsp xanthan gum
salt + pepper to taste
enough water to 1/2 cover cabbage rolls
SAUCE + COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
- Pre-heat oven to 350F
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium/high heat.
- Add tomato paste and saute for 1 minute.
- Add stock cubes, stir and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add enough water to turn into a sauce that will half cover the cabbage rolls **If doing stove top see instructions below** stir and bring to a boil, then take it off the heat.
- Pour sauce over the cabbage rolls until halfway submerged.
- Place the outer green leaves we saved to put over the top of the cabbage rolls, this will also make them steam and keep them from drying out.
- Place in the oven for 1 hour and 30 mins.
- Carefully drain the sauce only, back into a medium saucepan, add the 2TBSP of heavy whipping cream, sprinkle the xanthan gum, and salt + pepper and whisk briskly until sauce starts to become a GRAVY consistency, not too thick, but not watery either.
- Place 2 cabbage rolls into a serving bowl or plate, and ladle over as much delicious gravy as you like.
Everything is the same, except you stack the cabbage rolls in a large pot, and then cover the cabbage rolls with enough sauce to only just fully submerge the cabbage rolls. Then place the large green leaves on top, cover with a lid, and place on very low simmer for 1 hour and 30 mins, then follow from Step 9