Stuffed Cabbage is one of those dishes I love to make for family and friends. I love everything about it. I like to start with the filling for these little packages of joy.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 11) baking dish, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 (8-inch) sauté pan, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, Microplane
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of chopped yellow onions (1 large onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock, unsalted
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed lightly
1/2 cup of golden raisins (regular raisins are fine)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of green cabbage with outer leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine for garnish
Ingredients For Filling:
1 1/2 pounds lean (90% lean) ground sirloin
2 extra-large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup of Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated
2 garlic cloves, minced and sautéed
2 tablespoons of apricot jam
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup onions, finely diced and sautéed
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup of par-cooked long-grain (Basmati quick-cooking) white rice (follow the directions on the box) cook the rice half-the-time required)
1 tablespoon of flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil. Add the diced onions, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl combine the ground sirloin, eggs, ricotta cheese, apricot jam, red pepper flakes, cooled sautéed onions and minced garlic, par-cooked rice, thyme, dried oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture and mix together gently using a fork to combine all the ingredients.
Directions For Sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until translucent. Add in the chicken stock, bring up to boil, and reduce by half. Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off, add fresh julienned basil, and finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.
Transfer 1 cup of sauce for the filling, set aside to cool. Set aside the remainder of the sauce.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepot of water to a hard boil. Using a paring knife, carefully remove the entire core of the cabbage. Place the cabbage into the boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to loosen.
Using a pair of tongs, while the cabbage is still hot, carefully peel off each leaf as soon as it’s pliable. Place each of them on a plate lined with a paper towel. At least 12 leaves will be needed.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Lightly spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a paring knife. Place 1/2 cup of the filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll, like you would a burrito.
Place 1 to 2 ladles of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the cabbage rolls, seam side down into the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of each cabbage roll. Bake for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender.
Garnish with finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Serve hot. Ther you have it, my Stuffed Cabbage.