Stuffed Cabbage is a community favorite. Like many other dishes we feature, it may be eaten at room temperature, making it a popular dish for Shabbat.
To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients.
2lbs lean ground beef
1 large grated onion
1 cup of washed rice (not cooked)
1 cup of shredded carrots
Lemon Juice from one large lemon
1 tablespoon cooking oil of choice
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 bunch of fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Making the stuffing:
The stuffing seems daunting at first - but you’ll be an expert in no time at all. This stuffing is traditionally made with meat, but you may make it vegetarian if you prefer. A very similar stuffing is used in other dishes. It is thus helpful to master this general technique once; so that you can make small adaptations for other recipes. In a future recipe, we may teach you how to make all of these ingredients from scratch
Mix the ingredients (everything except the head of cabbage) together in a large bowl, making note of the following:
Diced Tomatoes: Do not pour in the juice that comes from the diced tomatoes. Only pour in the diced tomatoes themselves. Save the juice for later in this recipe.
Tomato Sauce: Only pour in about half of the can (or 1 cups worth). Save the rest for later in this recipe.
Preparing the Cabbage:
Raw cabbage leaves cannot be rolled easily; so we’ll need to steam the cabbage first. Every cook has a secret way of steaming the cabbage, and in time you’ll figure out what way works best for you.
One popular method is to core the cabbage (that is, remove the “head” and most of the inner parts of the cabbage extending out from the core). Don’t remove too much of the cabbage because we will be boiling it, and we don’t want the cabbage to fall apart in the water. After you have cored the cabbage, place the cabbage in boiling water for 4-5 minutes with the hollowed-out side down. And then for another few minutes with the hollowed side up. When complete, carefully peel the cabbage.
Another popular method is to peel the cabbage first, leaf by leaf and boil all the individual leafs together. This boiling process may take up to 10 minutes (and even longer).
The key to either process is to have a malleable cabbage leaf, in which we can roll the stuffing. Don’t overcook the leafs at this stage, or they will fall apart when stuffed. You are looking for leaves that are slightly transparent, as in the video below.
Rolling the Cabbage:
Rolling the cabbage is a skill that is acquired relatively quickly. To help you roll the cabbage, we have produced the following video.
Please note that novices tend to make a few common mistakes.
More often than not, people do not place enough stuffing in each cabbage roll. Fill the roll up!
Sometimes the cook is too nice to the cabbage and does not roll it tightly enough.
You'll be tempted to fold in the edges of the leafs. You actually do not need to do that with cabbage, though in many cases folding in the edges won't harm the end product.
Cooking the Stuffed Cabbage
Place the stuffed cabbage in a deep pot, ideally in a criss-cross pattern as you layer each row on top of the previous.
Pour the leftover juice from the diced tomato can and the remaining tomato sauce into the pot with a tablespoon of oil and ~¾ cup of water. Place a dinner plate onto the pot to keep the everything down, then cover the pot with a lid. Heat on high until the pot boils and them lower the heat to medium low and let sit for an hour. The sauce should be at the level of the top row of cabbage throughout the entire cooking process, so that the rice can cook.
After an hour, try one. If the rice is cooked, the cabbage is ready.
You may serve the dish hot, cold or at room temperature, and many people garnish the dish with dill.