Before Jewishness hit the Internet, I had no idea that stuffed cabbage was a traditional dish for Simchat Torah (aka the day after Sukkot). I served stuffed cabbage at my open sukkah, because, while it is time-consuming to prepare, it is a really good dish to entertain a crowd with. It practically serves itself, benefits from long stays in the oven, and freezes well. You just have to plan ahead, like days ahead.
Xenia Hammer praised my dish so effusively, that I cooked up another batch and froze some just so I could take pictures for my recipe. I also froze some for her.
Here is my recipe liberally illustrated with photographs.
The ingredients are:
2 lbs Ground Beef (I used Teva brand 85% lean ground beef)
Cooked Rice (I used Trader Joe’s pre-cooked brown rice, for convenience)
A medium sized head of green cabbage (more on that later)
2 16-oz cans Tomato Sauce
Brown Sugar and Mustard Powder, if desired.
See the picture
Equipment I used:
A large pot to boil the cabbage,
A good pair of soft-tipped tongs to peel the leaves off the cabbage,
A place to park the softened leaves before stuffing,
Two baking pans to bake the cabbage in.
Fill the large pot half full of water and bring to a boil.
Cut the core out of the bottom of the cabbage.
Put the cabbage, in the boiling water for 5 minutes, core side up. Press the cabbage down
under the water so a few air bubbles come up.
Using your good tongs, peel the soft outside leaves off the cabbage. If the leaves are not coming off, let the head of cabbage boil some more.
Set the leaves aside to drain and cool. You are going to repeat this step five or six times, till there are no leaves left to peel off.
While the first set of leaves is being softened, you make your stuffing: mix your meat and rice, adding ½ cup of water. You also open a can of sauce add your sugar and mustard powder to the sauce.
While the second set of leaves is boiling, coat the pan with a thin layer of sauce, and now you can stuff the first set of leaves by taking a dollop of stuffing, by which I mean perhaps two to four tablespoons of meat mixture, deposit it on one end of the leaf, fold over the sides, and roll up. Place the roll in the sauce seam side down.
Repeat until pan is full. Pour other half of can of sauce over the rolls.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake in 350 oven for at least 90 minutes, but you can leave pan in the oven for 5 or 6 hours, if covered tightly. It just gets better flavor that way.