Stuffed Cabbage

As I’m sure everyone is aware, last weekend (not this past weekend, the last, last weekend) was Easter and Passover. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! S is jewish, I am not, and unfortunately neither of us could make it home to be with our families. Instead, we decided to cook our own holiday dinner (and take pictures of it of course – because that’s totally normal…) with brisket and stuffed cabbage. 

We probably discussed the recipe and the technique for a couple of hours.  S had never made it himself before, and I had never eaten, seen or cooked stuffed cabbage before.  I did a lot of recipe research and came up with a fairly good idea of what was supposed to be happening and when.  Interestingly enough, S’s brother was trying stuffed cabbage for the first time that weekend too, so it was a cross-country stuffed cabbage extravaganza.

Also, did I forget to mention that stuffed cabbage is freaking delicious? I really, really liked it. I think we can consider it healthy since it has a good dose of vegetables and no carbs. Also, if you’re keeping kosher, you wouldn’t put any cheese on it (you also wouldn’t use a bacon marinara recipe for the sauce, which we did).

Stuffed Cabbage (very loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 head green cabbage
1 pound ground beef or turkey (we used turkey)
1 package mushrooms, chopped (I prefer portabella)
1 small to medium onion, chopped small
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
3 to 4 cups simple tomato or marinara sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Remember the mirepoix? It’s ba-ack. And will probably be included in every recipe I can stick it in from here on out.

Chop the onion, celery and carrot and saute in the olive oil on low heat for 5-10 minutes or until soft.

While you’re sauteeing, chop the mushrooms, and then add them to the pan for an additional 5 minutes.

Mix the egg and turkey.

Yeah, it looks gross. I agree. I let S take care of the “turkey mixing” process. Usually when dividing up kitchen tasks, I take care of all the chopping and he takes care of the meat. 

Also add the vegetables and mushrooms, salt and pepper to the turkey and mix thoroughly. At this point, you’ll also want to put a small pot of water on the stove to boil (we forgot this step and wished we hadn’t)

So, prior to stuffing the leaves, you should cut out the core but leave the head of cabbage intact, and then pour a small pot of boiling water over the head of cabbage in a bowl, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. We forgot this step, and the cabbage leaves were a little too tough while eating. Don’t get me wrong, they were still totally edible, but I think this step is a valuable one. We individually cut the stalk out of each leaf without boiling (and you will still need to ensure the large veins are removed from each leaf regardless).

From here, we cut the leaf in half. Each large leaf should make 2 rolls. Smaller leaves will make one each, and you may need to trip to get a good piece that isn’t broken. Dry the leaves with paper towels.

Roll 1/4-1/3 cup of the filling into each leaf. When rolling the leaves, I was envisioning an envelope. Fold up the bottom portion, then fold in either side and roll tightly. It certainly does not need to be perfect.

Most recipes I saw then instructed to arrange in a large pot, but we decided to use the crockpot (gasp). It worked like a charm!

Layer the rolls, and cover each layer evenly with marinara sauce.

Now, if cooking in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. As we were using the slow cooker, it took longer, about 3-4 hours.

Serve with sauce from the pot and enjoy!

We kept going back for seconds… and thirds. They also reheated extremely well the next day.  The batch didn’t survive the weekend.

Happy Monday!



9 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage

  1. I love stuffed cabbage leaves and when I saw this it just made my mouth water. i’ve only ever done them stuffed with rice, onions and mushrooms, with a tomato sauce over the top like yours, for the vegetarians in my family so am certainly going to have to try them with meet.

  2. In my Ukranian family we made stuffed cabbage with a filling of cooked rice, browned beef, and fried onions. Once the filling was rolled in the leaves and they were placed in a roaster lined with extra cabbage leaves, a topping of canned cream of mushroom soup diluted with half the milk was poured over each layer to keep them moist rather than a tomato based sauce. They were then baked at 325f for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cabbage was tender.

    • INTERESTING! We seriously debated adding rice, as many recipes we saw included it. Ultimately we went with the chopped mushrooms instead. I think we’ll have to try it with rice next time. I also love the idea of the mushroom soup… Thanks for the great feedback!

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