Cabbage Rolls are very popular among Slavic people. It’s truly a classic dish. Usually Cabbage Rolls are made out of cabbage leaves and meat. There are some variations: some like to cook cabbage rolls with pork, some like it with turkey meat. Some people like to add rice or other grain to the meat…possibilities are endless. There is no right or wrong. So don’t be afraid to experiment with it.
You can make Cabbage Rolls a day or two ahead of time. So go ahead and impress your guests with this fancy, yet simple European classic.
- 1 small green cabbage
- 1 package of ground turkey (or pork, or beef)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium or large carrot, shredded
- 1 cup uncooked rice, cooked and cooled
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- salt, pepper
- bay leaf (optional)
Start with cutting out a core from a cabbage head. Put the cabbage in a pot of boiling water. Bring it to boil, and cook until the outer leaves come off easily with the fork. It is very important to not overcook. Repeat with the rest of the leaves. Again, leaves should be tender, but not falling apart. Outer leaves cook faster, so remove them with the fork as soon as they come off easily. The whole process usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Reserve the water in which the cabbage was cooking.
Let the cabbage leaves cool, then cut off the hard rib on each leaf with kitchen scissors.
Cut some bigger leaves in half.
Some leaves from the very center of the cabbage are very small, I use them to cover the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking.
Prepare the meat mixture. Mix together ground meat, cooked rice, salt, pepper.
Place a small portion of meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf. Form a roll. Tuck in the edges. Repeat with the rest of meat and cabbage. Place Cabbage Rolls snuggly in a pot.
Prepare the sauce. Preheat the large skillet with 1 tbsp. of canola oil. Cook onions until tender. Add carrots, and cook for about 2 min on medium heat. Add tomato sauce and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the Cabbage Rolls. Add 1 or 2 bay leaves (optional), and pour the reserved water just enough to cover the Cabbage Rolls. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat, and let it cook on slow/medium heat for 40 minutes.
Serve with the sauce in which the Cabbage Rolls were cooked in and/or sour cream.
There you have it. Traditional European perfect, comforting, and nutritious dish just in time for holidays.