Cabbage rolls are a great way to get your meat and veggies and starch all in one go. Here are 3 different fillings that go with the same sauce. Take your pick or make them all!
I was inspired yet again by my brother when I was visiting. He makes up an industrial size batch and freezes dinner size portions. Yeah! Make Ahead! Having said that you do have to start this a couple of days before you are going to make the rolls. I day to freeze the head of cabbage and one day to defrost it in the fridge. This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare and shape the cabbage rolls and 3 hours in a slow oven to cook. So- make a big batch to make it worth your while and spend a nice crisp fall day with delicious cabbage roll aromas permeating your kitchen!
The original recipe is from a lady in my hometown, hand written on a recipe card. The recipe has evolved in custody of my brother but the thing that I learned from it was
- that I love the hint of brown sugar in the simple sauce
- using uncooked rice soaks up all that water the cabbage leaves put out. I will never go back to using cooked rice in my cabbage rolls!
I was experimenting so I made an Italian style filling, a German style filling and the traditional filling. They were all good but I have to say my favourite is the German style with its sauerkraut and caraway seeds.
All the variations are gluten free. The German version is made without rice so it is low carb. The filling is a bit loose but if you roll it tightly they hold together. The sauce for that batch was more watery since there was nothing to soak up the moisture the cabbage leaves released.
My farmer’s market sells special flat cabbages that are especially good for making cabbage rolls because the leaf is flatter and quite big. You can certainly use a regular green cabbage.
I learned a good trick a few years ago from the Mennonite community. Freeze your cabbage and then give it a day to defrost in the fridge. The leaves peel off easily and are nice and pliable. I cut the base of the thick spine away so the bottom of my leaf has a V section cut out. That keeps them from being tough and easier the shape and roll.
The sauce makes about 5 cups of sauce. Each one of the Fillings makes about 6 cabbage rolls. You can make all 3 if you like or double or triple the filling of your choice.
The number of cabbage rolls you get will depend on the size of your leaves. The outer leaves are larger and they get smaller as you go. Use 1/3 pt 1/2 cup of filling per leaf.
Use a pan or pans so that you can cook the rolls in one layer.