stuffed cabbage rolls

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This is a slight modification of a recipe we used to get almost every week growing up on the farm. It did not cost much and it could be easily stretched by adding more grain to the filling. Now that we are getting a couple of heads of cabbage a week from our C.S.A. shares I am making this dish a lot and freezing most of the cabbage rolls for later.
Servings:
8 to 10
Preparation Time:
1 hour prep, 1 hour bake
Tools
  • stock pot w/ lid - 2/3 to 3/4 full with almost boiling salted water
  • 9" to 10" cast iron skillet w/ lid
  • cutting board and knife
  • collander
  • mortar and pestal (or spice grinder)
  • small bowl and whisk
  • 9"x12" cassarole dish w/ lid
  • large bowl

Ingredients

Spice mixture

  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 t fresh ground carraway seeds
  • 1 t hot paprika
  • 1 t sweet paprika
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t dry thyme leaves
  • 1/2 t mustard powder
  • 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t cardamom powder

Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 t. butter
  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 1/4 c. stock or broth
  • 1/4 c. wine
  • 2 T. tomato sauce
  • 6 snow pea pods, minced
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 c. cooked grain (barley, oats, rice, wheat, ...)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 6 c. tomato sauce
Cooking Instructions
Prep.

  • Chop, mince, and grate the vegetables and set aside.
  • Placing the cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and mixing together the spices.
  • Toast the spices (not the sugar) in the dry skillet for several minutes stirring constantly until they are fragrant.
  • Grind spices and mix with the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Filling

  • Place 1 t. of olive oil and butter into the skillet and start cooking down half of the onion, leek, celery, and carrot with 1/3 of the spice mixture. Cook covered stirring every 5 minutes until golden - about 15 minutes.
  • Push the cooked filling to the sides of the pan add 1 t. of olive oil and brown the ground meat. Cook covered for 5 minutes.
  • Break up the meat and stir in the cooked filling, the minced garlic, the other half of the chopped vegetables, and half of the remaining spice mixture. Cook covered for 5 more minutes.
  • Uncover and stir in the remaining spice mixture, wine, and broth. Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
  • Stir in the grain, snow peas, and pine nuts. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Stir a couple of times.
  • Move filling to large bowl and quickly stir in the lemon juice and beaten egg until fully incorporated. Cover with cling film and let cool on the counter.

Assembly

  • Turn the oven to 350F.
  • Remove most of the core from the cabbage and cook in almost boiling salted water for 2 minutes.
  • Lift cabbage from pot by stabbing into the remaining core with a long fork and peel off the outer half of the leaves.
  • Place the cabbage back into the pot for a couple more minutes then remove the rest of the leaves.
  • Rince the leaves under cold water in the collander to stop the cooking process.
  • Roll up a heaping tablespoon of filling into each cabbage leaf and pack the rolls into the cassarole dish.
  • Just cover the rolls with the tomato sauce and poke each of the rolls a couple of times with a fork.
  • Bake covered in the oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
For freezing cabbage rolls: Tie them with kitchen string and steam them for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack and wrap up four rolls together in parchment before bagging and freezing.