Russian Stuffed Cabbage
This recipe is featured in Sunny Oaks and Stuffed Cabbage
Adapted from Fay’s recipe.
For the vegetables:
- 2 large heads green cabbage, cored
- 3/4 of a green pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, sliced
For the sauce:
- Two 794 grams (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 106 grams (1/2 cup, packed) brown sugar
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 85 grams (1/2 cup) dark raisins
For the filling:
- .9 Kilogram (2 pounds) lean ground beef
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 99 grams (1/2 cup) raw rice
- 79 ml (1/3 cup/1/4 of a pepper) very finely chopped green pepper
- 79 ml (1/3 cup/1/4 of a medium onion) very finely chopped onion
- 79 ml (1/3 cup/1 stalk) very finely chopped celery
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) salt
- 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) black pepper
1. For the vegetables: Fill a very large pot of water about 3/4 full, and bring to a boil. Boil the cabbages, one at a time, for 5 minutes. Scoop out (do not drain the pot) and cool under cold running water. When cool enough to handle, peel away the large softened leaves and set aside. After you peel off 6 or 7 leaves, you may need to put the cabbage back in the boiling water for a few more minutes to soften the inner leaves. When you have 25 leaves, set them aside. Roughly chop the rest of the cabbage and put a scant 2 liters (8 cups) of chopped cabbage into a large bowl. (You’ll probably have leftover cabbage.) Add the green pepper, celery, and onion. Set aside.
2. For the sauce: Combine tomatoes, lemon juice, brown sugar and raisins in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. For the filling: Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add eggs, rice, finely chopped vegetables, salt, and pepper. Mix until just combined.
4. To assemble: Put half of the roughly chopped vegetables and half of the sliced onions into the bottom of a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Top with half of the sauce.
5. Stuff the cabbage leaves by placing a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture onto the center of a cabbage leaf. Start rolling by folding the thick end of the leaf over the meat (if the end is extremely thick, cut off a bit). Fold in the two sides of the leaf until they almost meet in the middle. Then roll up the rest of the way. Place the roll onto the bed of vegetables, seam side down. Repeat until all the meat is rolled, making one or two tightly packed layers of cabbage rolls, depending on the size of your pot.
6. Cover the cabbage rolls with the remaining vegetables and onions, or as much as will fit in the pot. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 3 hours. Serve cabbage rolls with sauce spooned over them.
MAKE AHEAD: Stuffed cabbage can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge. It’s even better the next day. It also freezes well. One cabbage roll makes a great appetizer. Two or three make a perfect meal.