stuffed cabbage rolls

maybe it was the russian in me that immediately jumped on this recipe when i saw it. maybe it’s because we have had the largest head of cabbage ever to be seen by mankind and i needed a final meal that would use it all up — we’ve had 10 servings of cabbage-filled meals (one not pictured, i forgot), adding this one it will be 14. thats 14 meals from one giant head of cabbage. is this real life?

adapted from smitten kitchen.

makes 3-4 servings

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey, for a healthier option)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 parsnip, shredded
  • 1/2 cup rice, dry
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups tomato sauce

cook rice according to instructions.

using a teapot or a pot, boil water. cut out the core of the cabbage and discard. place the remainder of the cabbage in a large bowl. once water has boiled, submerge the cabbage in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. this will allow the leaves to soften so they are easier to work with.

while that soaks, heat olive oil in a dutch oven. saute the onions until translucent. add in carrots, celery and parsnips and cook for a couple extra minutes. salt and pepper to taste. remove the vegetables from the pot and let cool. to the same pot, add in your ground beef or turkey with the tomato paste. cook in olive oil and remaining vegetable juices until it starts to brown. it doesn’t need to be fully cooked as it will be cooked again once it’s rolled into the cabbage. add rice and meat to the vegetable bowl. mix well.

drain the head of lettuce and select the biggest and thinest leaves. place the leaves on a flat surface and place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling into the bottom part of each leaf, depending on the size. tuck the sides of the leaves in and roll shut. arrange the rolls in the dutch oven, they should not overlap. cover the rolls with tomato sauce. bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook for 25-30 minutes.

* after dinner jason and i were discussing what we were nostalgic for, and i said i was nostalgic for doing cartwheels down the long hallway and into the living room of my parent’s buffalo grove house when i was a kid. every time i did it the whole house jumped (including all the glass tables with vases on them), but i never broke anything…that i remember. anyways, we then wanted to prove to each other that we can still do cartwheels. they weren’t pretty. i was sure we were going to hurt ourselves or break the TV. i guess we’re too old for cartwheels…


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