Stuffed cabbage rolls, while healthy and delicious, are kind of a pain in the butt to make. I figure "go big or go home" so to heck with making all those fiddly little individual cabbage leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice. Why not stuff the whole darned cabbage instead!
Now I know you're likely thinking it must be really hard to hollow out a cabbage because they're kinda' hard, but think a little outside the box and do it a little different. Deconstruct your cabbage and build a new one - easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Put a big pot of water on to boil and while that's happening, remove the core from a cabbage while keeping the leaves intact.
- Cover pot and steam the cabbage until the leaves start to turn transparent and peel them off the cabbage one by one - just like you would when making the individual cabbage rolls.
- Meanwhile, cut 3 pieces of kitchen string into 2 foot lengths and place in a bowl approximately the size of the cabbage. Arrange the string like spokes in a wheel with the string draped over the edges of the bowl. Arrange the cabbage leaves in the bowl on top of the string with tops of the leaves hanging over the top of the bowl. (3 or 4 layers of leaves will be just perfect and slice up the rest of the cabbage to place in the bottom of a casserole dish and/or use a can of sauerkraut like we did once before.
- Pack meat filling firmly into the bowl and top with additional steamed cabbage leaves. Fold overhanging cabbage leaves into center of the bowl then bring each piece of string together on top and tie securely. Place in casserole and bake.
To serve, cut and remove the string, cut slice your "cabbage" into wedges and serve to a gobsmacked audience! I did last night and Big Guy's still talking about it....again! Who knew I could baffle him not once but twice?
Whole Stuffed Cabbage by JBug's Kitchen Antics, a remake on a recipe inspired by Simply Recipes
1 small whole green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 large jar sauerkraut
1 -8 ounce can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water or beef stock
1 - 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
Sour cream as garnish
Fill a pot big enough to hold the head of cabbage with boiling water and heat over medium high heat. Remove any damaged outer leaves from cabbage and cut around the core. Place in boiling water, cover pot and steam to loosen leaves. Remove cabbage from water and remove leaves as they loosen. Arrange leaves in a bowl, overlapping them to cover bottom and sides, using the bowl as a mold. Return cabbage to boiling water and repeat process until you’ve used up all the leaves. Set some aside to cover the top of the cabbage once it is stuffed.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté onion and garlic until onion has softened. Cool slightly and place into a large bowl. Add ground beef, rice, eggs, paprika, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence and mix together well to combine. Pile the meat mixture into the cabbage lined bowl, packing it in and rounding the top slightly like a giant meatball. Place reserved cabbage leaves on top, then fold over sides of cabbage leaves to cover top. Flip the whole thing out of the bowl and tie tightly with kitchen twine so it stays together as it cooks.
Preheat oven to 350. Empty sauerkraut into a colander and rinse well under running water. Squeeze water out of sauerkraut and place into bottom of a large casserole dish with a cover (or alternatively shred remaining cabbage and place on bottom of casserole). Place tied stuffed cabbage on top of sauerkraut. Top with tomato sauce, water and tomatoes. Cover casserole and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
When cooked, remove string from cabbage and cut into wedges. Serve on sauerkraut tomato mixture and garnish with sour cream. Makes 6 servings.