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Russian stuffed cabbage requires a little extra effort but it’s well worth it.
Stuffed Cabbage: The Ultimate Comfort Food
There’s lots of ways to make stuffed cabbage. Every family has their own way of making it, but one thing is always the same. It’s pure comfort food!
Stuffed cabbage is a great winter dish because whether you cook it in the oven or on the stovetop, it’s warming to both the house and your senses. What could be better than a nice big plate of these on a cold mid-winter night. There’s not much that can beat a good stuffed cabbage for that feat.
The Effort Is Worth It
Anyone who has followed this site for a while knows that recipes that require a lot of fuss and bother are ones I usually won’t make–because many times it’s not worth the investment of time–or I try to streamline the preparation to make it less “involved.” I’m also terribly lazy in my old age.
I’m not implying that this recipe is complicated; it’s not. It just requires a bit of prep that’s not hard, but it does take time. And also if you’ve followed me for a while, you know that if I tell you that something is worth the extra steps, it’s worth it. At least to my way of thinking.
My mother used to make this recipe and we all loved it because it was a bit different from the standard recipe. I had a hankering for it so I took the plunge. One thing my mother didn’t do was pre-cook the cabbage. This extra step is worth it because the cabbage leaves won’t break apart as they do when they are raw. It’s also easier to roll up. You can save the remaining half-cooked head to make a cabbage side dish later in the week.
Mom also didn’t saute the onions before putting them in the meat. I do and it improves the flavor immensely. I also mix beef and pork which gives a delicate flavor and I use a flavorful rice. That’d be either basmati or jasmine.
Funny enough, the gravy is very simple. It’s sour cream, tomato paste and water. You could add a nice herb flavor–such as thyme or dill if you like–but it’s not necessary. If you can get sun-dried tomato paste, use that instead of the regular for more depth of flavor.
Russian Stuffed Cabbage
- 1 medium head green cabbage
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 3/4 lb ground pork
- 2 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 2 onions chopped, divided
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 2 carrots grated
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbs oil
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 3 tbs sour cream
- 1 cup water
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cut the core from the cabbage. Fill a large pot 1/3 way full with water and bring to a boil. Place cabbage in boiling water, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove cabbage and let it cool enough to handle it easily. Carefully separate about 12 leaves, drain and set aside.
- Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. add half the onion and saute until it begins to get soft. Remove from heat; set aside.
- Mix the beef, pork, cooked rice, garlic, cooked onions, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Remove the thick rib from each cabbage leaf and place about 1/2 cup of filling in each leaf. Fold in sides then roll up so meat is entirely covered. Repeat with each leaf.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- In the same skillet you cooked the onions, brown the cabbage rolls. Top with remaining onion and shredded carrots. Pour sauce over rolls, bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes.
- Remove cabbage rolls to a platter and keep warm. Reduce sauce by half over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Pour over cabbage rolls.