I have made this dish several times before but I keep making adjustments. This one I like b/c it brings me back to my roots in New Orleans’s for meat stuffing. Instead of a Mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery), I went with the New Orleans Trinity of onions, celery and bell pepper. This all comes back as a favorite of mine for stuffing green bell pepper or mirlitons (aka chayote squash). Only with mirliton, I like to use ground lamb. This substitute blend of Trinity offers a little more punch. I have researched the origins of this dish (the way Grandma made it) but those left me little in want of just a little more flavor. Don’t get me wrong. Grandma’s is always good.
(Click on pic to enlarge)
1 head of cabbage or Napa Cabbage
1½ cup cooked rice
½ Lb. ground beef (I used ground chuck) or use all ground beef
½ Lb. ground pork
½ onion finely chopped
1 celery stalk finely chopped
½ medium green pepper finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 cup of cooked long grain rice
1 egg beaten
Consider adding sage and thyme and consider dill
Your Favorite tomato sauce. It can have onions and garlic and add a little dry red wine to sweeten it some. Read below how to apply. Some folks use tomato soup or just tomato sauce. Consider adding the juices of the pan after baking to a roux.
Rice – Cooked in a rice cooker, let cool.
Cabbage – Cut the core out of the center of the cabbage. Place in at least a 7 Qt. pot half full of boiling water with the core side up. Boil 3 – 5 minutes and then gently remove the first of three or four leaves with tongs and place on a tray, keep doing this until you have peeled all the biggest usable leaves and that the leaves are cooked but firm enough to roll. Remove the small remaining cabbage and return the leaves back in 3 to 4 at a time and boil another 30 seconds or so. Set aside to cool. With a knife slice the main part of the rib out to of the cabbage leaf to make the leaf flexible.
Filling – Mix the rice, ground meat, onions, green bell, celery, egg, salt and pepper. I mixed it in a KitchenAid 4 minutes on the stir setting with the mixing blade. Spoon ~ a third cup of filling and make a cylindrical meatball and place in a cabbage leaf. Fold the top over then the sides and roll the cabbage and place in a 13×9 dish.
Tomato Sauce – In this dish I used two 15 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes added to sauteed chopped onions and garlic in olive oil and added a 1/4 cup of dry red wine to sweeten it some.
Cooking – Add 1/4 inch water to the bottom of the pan. Cook covered on 350° in the oven for 90 minutes. The idea is to cover the rolls so that they steam in the oven making the cabbage very tender and easy to cut with a fork. When serving add more tomato sauce from the pot.
Spoon a little tomato sauce over each roll and cook half time without the a cover and then cover the pan in aluminum foil.
As of 2/12/22