Stuffed cabbage is a classic comfort dish. It has a combination of ground meats, caramelized onions, and rice all baked in large cabbage leaves. The dish is very time consuming to make but it is worth it. This is a staple dish in many cuisines from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The exact ingredients vary from region to region but the technique is the same.
This recipe calls for savoy cabbage which has a lovely crinkly texture and is easy to roll. However, a head of regular green cabbage works well too. To prepare the cabbage, boil the whole head in a large pot of boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. This softens the leaves making them more pliable so that they can be easily rolled without tearing. The leaves are then cooled and discarded.
To make the filling, saute the onions in olive oil until tender. Add the garlic, grated carrots, salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the ground beef and the cooked rice. Mix well. Taste for seasonings; if desired, add a pinch of sugar to the tomato sauce. This cuts down on the acidity of the tomatoes and balances the flavors.
To assemble the rolls, lay a cabbage leaf down flat. Using a paring knife, carefully remove the thick stem from the center of each leaf (it is fine to leave the small end rib intact). Spoon about 3/4 cup of the filling onto each leaf. Fold both sides over the filling, then roll up. Repeat with the remaining 7 leaves and filling. Arrange the stuffed cabbage in a baking dish and spoon the rest of the sauce over it. Cover and bake until the filling is bubbling and the cabbage rolls are thoroughly cooked, about 1 hour. محشي ملفوف