Stuffed cabbage rolls, also known as cabbage rolls or holubtsi, are a delicious and hearty dish originating from Eastern Europe. They consist of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling of ground meat, rice, and various seasonings. Here’s a basic recipe to make stuffed cabbage rolls:
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 1 lb (450 g) ground beef or pork (or a combination of both)
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)
- Prepare the cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage head, and carefully separate the leaves, keeping them intact. Blanch the leaves in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until tender and pliable. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, cooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Assemble the cabbage rolls: Lay a cabbage leaf flat on your work surface with the stem end facing you. Place a spoonful of the filling (1/4 to 1/3 cup, depending on leaf size) near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf in, then roll the leaf up from the stem end, enclosing the filling. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
- Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, chicken or beef broth, brown sugar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Cook the cabbage rolls: In a large pot or deep skillet, place a layer of unused or torn cabbage leaves on the bottom to prevent the rolls from sticking. Arrange the cabbage rolls, seam-side down, in a single layer on top of the leaves. Pour the sauce evenly over the rolls. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the cabbage rolls are tender and cooked through.
- Serve the cabbage rolls: Carefully remove the cabbage rolls from the pot or skillet and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the rolls, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve the remaining sauce on the side for additional flavor.