Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I fondly remember the stuffed cabbage from my youth. It seemed like mom would spend all day in the kitchen, filling the house with the aroma of dinner to come. These have been changed up a bit, though just a bit. Her topping was more Eastern European in nature, adding a bit of sugar and a bit of vinegar to the tomato sauce. My version is more savory and spicy, not so sweet and sour.The inspiration for cooking these at this point in time? I received a wonderful gift of home delivery of certified organic vegetables from one of our local organic growers, Full Belly Farms. This week, our delivery included one very large head of cabbage. When I saw it, I immediately thought of stuffed cabbages. I planned a good amount of time to make these. I remembered them as an all day project. They didn't take nearly as much time as I remembered - perhaps a little less than an hour to put them together, then another 45 minutes to heat them up in the oven. However, I made a largish batch. That means there's leftovers for a second dinner, plus some lunches, too. When you've got a bit of time, and an extra large head of cabbage, enjoy the process and the tasty goodness of these.


1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves (1 tsp) minced garlic
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 lb sweet sausage
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large carrot, shredded (1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 large head cabbage

1 14 oz can of tomato sauce (or use one can of good marinara sauce, and omit the spices below)
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil leaves
1 tsp mined garlic


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the ground turkey to the onion and garlic mixture and continue cooking. Place the sausage in a microwave safe dish and cook on high until it loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Discard the fat from the cooked sausage, then stir the sausage into the onion and turkey mixture. Add the spices, the shredded carrot, and the cooked rice. Turn off the heat and allow to sit while you prepare the cabbage.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage, then add the cabbage to the boiling water. Remove the cabbage leaves, one at a time, from the cabbage as they begin to change color to a bright green and become pliable. This will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute for each leaf. Transfer the leaves to a towel as they become loose from the cabbage head and allow to cool. Cut out the large rib from the bottom of each leaf.

To make the cabbage rolls, place 2-3 Tbs of the rice and meat mixture into the middle of a cabbage leaf. Roll from the bottom, then tuck in the sides, and continue rolling until all of the leaf is rolled. Place seam side down in a baking dish. Continue with all of the cabbage leaves. This recipe should yield about 12 to 14 rolls. Top the rolls with the tomato sauce.

Cover the cabbage rolls with foil. Heat the rolls in a pre-heated 325F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes, until the sauce is hot and bubbly.

Serves 6-7 (2 rolls each)

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Cabbage is often overlooked, but it is a workhorse of a vegetable. It makes delicious slaw, is good cooked on its own, and makes the wrappers for these delicious rolls. 

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