Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
1 head of cabbage (get a fairly large one with big leaves)
4 C cooked rice
1 large can crushed tomatoes (I used 2 smaller cans of diced which I blended to smooth)
Salt & pepper
This is a multi-part recipe. It’s kind of labor intensive
But worth the effort as you make a lot and have leftovers
Which you can even freeze.
The Cabbage: Cut into the core and remove part of it, using a very sharp knife. Put the entire head of cabbage into a very big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Using tongs and a wooden spoon, peel off the cabbage leaves as they soften. I turn the
cabbage in the water, carefully so as to not get scalded. Put the leaves in a colander if you have one, so they drip dry. Keep doing this until the cabbage is all taken apart. Let the leaves drain. Keep some of the water that you boiled the cabbage in for later.
In a skillet, add some olive oil and sauté minced onions, carrots and any other leftover
Veggies you might have or want to use like zucchini and broccoli. You can add pignoli nuts, pecan pieces, raisins, if you like. I added some browned veggie “meat.” Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the cooked veggies, etc. into the prepared rice. Adjust seasonings. You can add red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce to spice it up.
Assemblage: Take a cabbage leaf and lay it on a cutting board or plate. Put some of the rice mixture in the middle and wrap the leaves around it, like folding a little package or
Pillow shape. Secure this with a toothpick or two. Keep doing this until you’ve used up the rice mixture or leaves, which ever comes first.
Put some of the smaller cabbage leaves on the bottom of a very large saucepan. Place the rolls in the pot. Pour the crushed tomato over them. Toss in a handful of brown sugar and squeeze the lemon juice onto it all. Cook over a low heat. Add some of the cooking water to make it saucier. Cook covered. It’s done in about an hour or more.
You can transfer some of the rolls to a baking dish and brown slightly before serving. Take care when removing rolls from pan not to break them open.
Sauce variation: a bottle of chili sauce mixed with some grape jelly.