Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- for the stuffing:
- 1 – 2 large heads of white cabbage
- 400 – 500 g ground beef (uncooked)
- 200 ml cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 onion
- 100 ml short grain rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- for the sauce:
- melted butter
- 400 ml smetana
- 140 g tomato paste
- beef stock
- (dark or light molasses or maple syrup)
Cooking time 150mins
Adapted from recipe.foohta.com
1. For a tight-headed cabbage:
Cut a deep cone-shaped incision into the bottom of the cabbage(s) and remove the core(s). Place the whole cabbage, bottom side down, in a large saucepan, at least half-submerged in boiling water.
Cook the cabbage, turning it occasionally, until its leaves start to soften. Gently and carefully, pull off the leaves one at a time as they soften and become loose. Drain the leaves on paper towels. The softened leaves should bend easily, without breaking — if necessary, cook them for a few minutes longer in boiling water to make them more pliable. Leave the smallest leaves at the very core of the cabbage attached. They are too small to be filled.
For a loose-headed cabbage: If the cabbage has a loose head so that the leaves may be easily detached without being torn apart, you can just boil the leaves in batches instead of boiling the whole cabbage and wait for the leaves to soften one at a time. Drain the boiled, softened leaves on paper towels.
2. To make the stuffing, cook the rice until tender, drain it and let cool. Chop the onion very finely. Mix the ground meat with the rice, chopped onion, cream, egg yolks and spices. To soften its taste, the onion may be sautéed in a little butter before mixing into the stuffing.
The stuffing should be runnier than a meatloaf mixture, so add some more cream if it seems too stiff. You may also finely chop the smallest, unattached leaves of the cabbage and add to the stuffing mixture if you like — otherwise, discard them or use them for some other dish.
3. Stuff the cabbage leaves: place the leaves one at a time on the work surface and trim their thick ribs thinner with a sharp knife, pressing the leaves flat against the work surface as you cut. Spoon about 1 – 2 tablespoons of stuffing on the convex side of one leave, fold the bottom part of the leaf over the filling, fold in the sides and continue rolling to enclose the filling. Some egg white may be used brushed on the folds of the leave, to “glue” them together firmly. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stuffing.
4. Place the cabbage rolls in a wide, generously buttered oven pan, snugly in one layer and the seam side down. Brush the rolls generously with melted butter. Bake at 220 °C for 20 minutes. Take the pan out, turn the rolls over, brush again with melted butter and bake for another 20 minutes.
5. Mix the smetana with tomato paste and add some stock to make the mixture a bit thinner. Reduce the heat to 150 °C, pour the smetana mixture over the rolls and bake for about 1½ hours, or until the rolls are nicely browned, the cabbage tender and the filling cooked through.
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