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Close up front shot of stuffed cabbage rolls on a plate garnished with bacon and parsley
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5 from 1 vote

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

My Polish grandmother's recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is an old-fashioned dinner that stands the test of time!
Course Dinner
Cuisine European
Keyword Stuffed Cabbage, stuffed cabbage rolls
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 10 - 12 people
Calories 373.7kcal
Author Blair

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 very large head of green cabbage (or 2 small heads)
  • 2 lbs. meatloaf mix (a combination of ground beef, ground veal and ground pork)
  • 2 slices stale bread, crumbled (or about ⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (23.2 ounce) can condensed tomato soup, NOT diluted

Instructions

PREPARE THE INGREDIENTS:

  • Parboil the rice by cooking rice in salted boiling water for 4 minutes; drain. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion in the melted butter just until tender (about 7-10 minutes). Set aside.
  • In a large Dutch oven, cook chopped bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
  • Steam cabbage in the microwave by placing the cabbage in a pan with about 2 inches of water. Cook for a total of about 10-12 minutes, or until tender. I like to do this increments, every few minutes removing the outer cabbage leaves as they become soft.

ASSEMBLE THE ROLLS:

  • In a large bowl, stir together ground meat, parboiled rice, sautéed onion, breadcrumbs, beef broth and parsley. Add salt and pepper, and up to 1 tablespoon of sugar, if desired. The mixture should be very moist.
  • Place a steamed cabbage leaf on a cutting board. Trim a little bit of the core off of the leaf to make it easier to roll. Place about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture at the core-end of the cabbage leaf. Start to roll, fold in each side, and then continue rolling to seal. You can use toothpicks to secure the rolls if you like, but it’s not necessary. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
  • Place the stuffed cabbage rolls seam-side down in the Dutch oven that has bacon grease in the bottom. Stack the rolls, as necessary, and then season with salt and pepper over top.

COOK THE ROLLS:

  • Spread condensed soup over the top, cover, and cook over very low heat for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  • Garnish the stuffed cabbage leaves with the reserved cooked, crumbled bacon and fresh parsley, if desired, just before serving.

Notes

  • Instead of steaming the cabbage in the microwave, you can boil the cabbage in a pot of water until tender. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a boil, and then add the cabbage (stem-side-down). Boil for 10 minutes; turn the cabbage over, and continue cooking for 4 more minutes (or until soft). Allow the cabbage to cool enough so that you can handle it, and then carefully remove the leaves, one at a time.
  • I have never tried it myself, but I know that other cooks suggest freezing the head of cabbage and then thawing before stuffing and rolling. This cuts out the step of boiling the cabbage, because the freezing and thawing process will adequately soften the leaves so that you can roll them. Let me know if you give this a try!
  • While you can prepare this recipe using ground beef instead of the meatloaf mixture, I highly recommend using the combination of ground beef, pork and veal. The meatloaf mixture gives the dish a unique flavor and richness that you don't get with just ground beef.
  • Make sure that you purchase the family size (23.2 ounce) can of condensed tomato soup. This is larger than the standard 10.75 ounce can. If you can't find the extra large can, you can substitute with two smaller cans.
  • You do not need to dilute the tomato soup before adding it to the pot. The tomato sauce will thin as it cooks and combines with the steam in the pot.
  • Slow Cooker Method: Assemble the cabbage rolls as described, but place in a slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or spread with bacon grease). Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • If using brown rice, you’ll need to boil the rice for 15 minutes before adding it to the meat mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the recipe | Calories: 373.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.8g | Protein: 18.9g | Fat: 17.3g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 59.8mg | Sodium: 416.2mg | Potassium: 615.8mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 9.9g