Cabbage Rolls

So the other day I decided to do something a little different for dinner. Something healthy and unusual for my family. I had a head of cabbage that I needed to use up. It had been there for over a week, so I decided to make some cabbage rolls. To be quite honest, I've never made stuffed cabbage rolls before. I've made other stuffed veggies, but never cabbage. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, so it is very nutritious and healing for the liver. I generally eat my cabbage raw, but this is a cooked cabbage recipe that is very delicious.



All of my daughters lent a helping hand in this activity, so it went rather smoothly. My daughter Nasibah's helping hands, can be seen above rolling the meat and rice mixture into the cabbage. We rolled about 3 heads of cabbage that evening. When we were done we placed all of them in a large buffet pan.



We enjoyed our cabbage rolls with tossed salad and a dessert of mango ice cream. The cabbage rolls were a treat welcomed by the whole family. I will definitely try them again, however next time I think that I'll try the crockpot version of cabbage rolls. Below is the recipe that we used for making our lovely cabbage rolls.

Ingredients

Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 quarts crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of an all-natural sugar (honey, raw agave, coconut nectar, or erythritol
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cabbage Rolls:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 pound ground beef
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups steamed brown rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large heads green cabbage, about 3 pounds each

Coat a 3-quart saucepan with the oil and place over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar; simmer, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, a splash of wine, parsley, and 1/2 cup of the prepared sweet and sour tomato sauce, mix to incorporate and then take it off the heat. Combine the ground meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the cooked rice, and the sauteed onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Next add the cabbage heads to a large pot of boiling water. Blanche the heads of cabbage in the water for about 7-10 minutes. Then shock the cabbage heads in ice cold water. If the leaves do not come off easily, repeat the procedure. Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets you have to wrap up the filling. Next, carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Use all the good looking leaves to make the cabbage rolls. Put about 1/2 cup of the meat filling in the center of the cabbage and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in a casserole pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the remaining sweet and sour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Fold the hanging leaves over the top to enclose and keep the moisture in. Drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 1 hour until the meat is cooked.

* The small leaves that were too small to make rolls from, I used them in a cabbage stir fry the next day.

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