sour creamto taste, for serving (optional, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
red wine vinegarto taste, for serving (optional, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
(Skip this step if you intend on cooking the cabbage rolls in a crock-pot.)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray or butter.
Cook The Onions
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and cook until softened; about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat a pour them into a sieve to drain and cool.
Prepare the Cabbage Leaves For Stuffing:
While the onions are cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Use caution: Make sure there is enough room for the cabbage to float inside the pot, but do not overfill the pot with water to avoid overflow.
Using a sharp knife, core the stem of the cabbage. To do this, cut a circle around the base of the stem on the bottom of the cabbage, as you would a pumpkin stem. Remove the core and discard it.
When the water comes to a boil, using tongs, carefully lower the cabbage down into the boiling water. Within a couple of minutes, the outside leaves will come loose. Use the tongs to peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage. Pull them out of the pot and lay them on a platter lined with paper towels or inside a colander to drain.After another minute or so, the next set of leaves will come loose. Remove and repeat this process until you have at least 8 to 10 cabbage leaves.
Pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Trim thick stems at the bottom of the leaf. This will not only make the cabbage rolls easier to roll, but the stems tend to be bitter. Just don’t cut any more than a third of the way into the leaf, to ensure it will roll well.
Stuff The Cabbage Rolls
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cooled onion, rice, and season with salt, to taste. Tip: Use clean wet hands to mix the stuffing mixture like you would a meatloaf, being sure not to overwork the meat.
Now, let’s stuff the leaves!Grab one of the prepared cabbage leaves. Place onto a clean workspace with the stem side facing you. Scoop ¼ cup of the beef mixture onto the center of the leaf. Next roll up the leaf. The technique is similar to rolling a Mexican burrito. First, fold the two sides of the cabbage leaf over the mixture. Then fold the stem over the bottom part of the leaf and roll it into packet tucking in the edges as you roll upward. Place the cabbage roll, seam side down, inside the prepared baking dish (or crock-pot). Repeat the same process for the remaining stuffing mixture or you run out of cabbage leaves. When you are done, you should have 8 to 10 stuffed cabbage rolls ready to cook (Or freeze – Freezer instructions to follow).
Prepare The Tomato Sauce
In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, broth, and paprika. Pour the sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls.
Bake The Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Cover the dish with a lid or wrap with foil. Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven. Bake until the leaves are tender and the meat is cooked through; about 60 to 90 minutes.
Serving The Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Serve the delicately warm and cooked through stuffed cabbage rolls with a ladle of tomato sauce poured over the top, big dollop of sour cream and a splash of red wine vinegar. The contrast of the tangy vinegar and the savoriness of the rolls is amazing!
Crock-Pot Instructions: The stuffed cabbage rolls do amazingly well in a slow cooker.Up to two days prior, prepare the cabbage rolls and place them seam side down inside the bowl of a crock-pot and pour over the tomato sauce mixture. Then place the bowl in the refrigerator, until ready to cook.When you are ready to slow cook the rolls, place the bowl inside the slow cooker, set it to cook on low for 6 ½ to 7 hours or on high for 4 ½ to 5 hours.Freezing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: Make a batch of cabbage rolls for freezing to keep on hand for an easy weeknight meal. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, onto a plate. Place the plate inside the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, for the rolls to set. Basically they should be frozen enough to keep them from unwrapping when placed inside a freezer bag.When the rolls are set, take them out of the freezer and place inside a freezer bag squeezing as much air out as possible.Place them inside the freezer and freeze for up to 4 to 6 months.Freezer-To-Oven Cooking: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray or butter.Mix up the sauce ingredients first. Pour about half of the sauce mixture into the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Then lay the frozen cabbage rolls, seam side down, directly on top of the sauce. Now pour the remaining sauce over the rolls. Use a spoon, to scoop and spread sauce to ensure each cabbage roll is covered in sauce.Cover the dish with a lid or wrap with foil. Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven. Bake until the leaves are tender and the meat is cooked through; about 90 minutes to 2 hours.Freezer-To-Crock-Pot Cooking:The night before you cook the cabbage rolls pour all of the ingredients of the sauce mixture together inside a quart-size mason jar. Place it in the refrigerator overnight. (This takes out the mixing and prep in the morning before leaving the house.)The next morning, take the pre-mixed sauce jar out of the refrigerator and grab a bag of the cabbage rolls out of the freezer.Give the jar of sauce a good shake to mix it up. Pour just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the crock-pot.Next, lay the frozen cabbage rolls directly on top of the sauce. Then pour the remaining sauce over the rolls. Use a spoon, to scoop and spread sauce to ensure each cabbage roll is covered in sauce.Set the crock-pot on low for 6 ½ to 7 hours or on high for 4 ½ to 5 hours.How do I make this recipe vegetarian?To make this recipe vegetarian, swap the beef broth for the beef broth and replace the meat with one or more of the following:
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