The idea to first attempt cabbage rolls came when a friend mentioned they had started purchasing the sour cabbage from the grocery store. I'd always just passed it by, not even considering it. But why? I love sour foods, pickled foods, fermented foods - so off I went and I'm pretty darn happy I did! Not only did it help yield these delicious babies, but I also throw it in my soups and stirfrys. It's a winner.
Having the sour cabbage makes this whole cabbage roll process so much easier and quicker as there is no need to tend to the cabbage. It's ready to roll, literally. Your only tasks are the meat and the tomato sauce. Yes, you can of course by ready made sauce, or use tomato juice, but it's really quite quick to make and you're already in the kitchen - so may as well!
This is a great weekend dish as it takes a bit of prep time in the kitchen - I made it on a Sunday afternoon for a Sunday dinner. However, making it a day ahead is a great idea as it allows the flavours to develop a bit more. The leftovers for lunch were so frickin' good! This is also quite a zesty version - there's vinegar, lemon along with the sour cabbage, if you're used to the sweeter versions, I think your in for a great treat!
*makes about 10 rolls (2 per serving)
1 can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup broth (chicken)
1/2 onion (do not chop it - keep it whole)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbs butter
plenty of salt and pepper
1 head of sour cabbage
1 lbs grass fed ground beef
1 cup cooked rice of choice
1 onion grated (or diced)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp dried dill
bunch of fresh dill for serving (optional)
lots of salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Blend the whole tomatoes until smooth and add to butter. Add the butter, sugar, chilli flakes, vinegar, lemon, onion chunk and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Allow this to simmer on low for about 30 mins. Move on to making the filling. After 30 mins, remove the onion and discard. Add broth and season to taste.
Heat a frying pan and add beef. Press the beef with the back of a spoon to break apart into small pieces. Get them as small as you can. After about 5-7 mins, add the onion and fry for a bit longer, then add the garlic and all the spices including salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 mins or so. Turn off the heat and add the rice and allow to cool slightly. Then add the whisked egg and stir to combine.
Pour some of the sauce onto the bottom of a casserole dish and spread so it's covered. To roll, lay the cabbage leaf in front of you, with the core closest to your body. Add about a 1/4 cup or 1/3 of filling to base of the cabbage leaf and roll half way, then tuck the sides in and finish rolling. Here's a wee video to help you out. (sorry, the football is on - obvs not by my choice - and I can't figure out how to turn audio off yet!)
Place into a casserole dish and repeat until all filling is used. Cover with the remainder of the sauce. It's okay if it's a bit runny as it will thicken while in the oven.
Place the covered casserole dish in a pre-heated 375°F oven and allow to cook for 30 mins. Remove the lid and allow to cook for 30 more. Serve with a salad or perogies! Enjoy!