I saw Julia Child and Jacque Pepin make stuffed cabbage on PBS. With care and attention to preparation and seasonings, I was able to follow the recipe and understand why this unique recipe was the focal point of the show. The flavor of the cabbage was delightful and very tender. I modified ingredients to my taste preference, but most interesting was freezing the cabbage for ease of preparation. I used gentle seasonings so the cabbage flavor was not hidden.
1 head of green cabbage or Savoy cabbage
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 t caraway seeds
1 T parsley chopped
3/4 pound ground beef
1 C cooked rice
1 large onion diced
3 carrots diced
4 celery sticks diced
4 garlic cloves minced
3 T olive oil
1 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes*
1 T Cento® tomato paste
1 t Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
3 C chicken broth
1 C white wine
Oven temperature 350º F serves 6-8
Core the cabbage and wrap in plastic wrap.Place in freezer for 24 hours then remove and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Cook rice according to package directions.* and set aside.
Remove 12 outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside. Chop the remaining cabbage up and add set aside.
In large skillet bring olive oil up to heat and add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and chopped cabbage. Cook until liquid is reduced about 30- minutes.
Add rice and ground beef and combine.
Heat olive oil in 5 quart oven proof covered pot. Add onions, carrots,celery, Italian herds and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, and broth. Bring to boil.
Cut large sheet of aluminum foil to assemble cabbage leaves and stuffing. Lay down in overlapping circular form the 4 largest leaves. Place at least 1/3 of stuffing in center. Add next 4 leaves and repeat. Add 4 final leaves and remainder of stuffing. Pull the bottom leaves and foil up to form a firm ball. Leave a hole at the top on the ball.
Place the hole side down in the braising pot. Pour in wine and cover. Bake for 1 1/2 -2 hours. Check half way through check on braising liquid level; may have to add additional broth.
Remove from oven. Using a large spatula lift cabbage out of pot to serving tray. Remove foil and pour some braising liquid over cabbage. Count and serve. Serve with green beans and a green salad.
Stuffed cabbage is delicate. Use caution with slicing to create servings. Below is an example serving.
Serve with peppery tomato sauce.
*Diced tomatoes can be substituted for crushed tomatoes.
*Organic brown rice make take longer to cook than white rice.
Freezing the cabbage was a time saving step. No par boiling the leaves. I debated between ground beef and ground turkey. The ground beef added additional flavor to the cabbage.