It seems like every culture has their own version of stuffed cabbage. Some use currents or dates, others use sausage or pork, and still more substitute barley -- even pickled cabbage! From Italy to Iran to China, everyone loves sticking stuff in cabbage. And why not? Its tough yet supple leaves are nature’s perfect little tortillas.
The principle here is simple, soften the leaves a bit so they're easier to fold and stuff whatever the hell you want in there. Then you can fry it like a dumpling, smother it in tomato sauce, steam it to perfection -- do whatever you want, we're not judging. Here's one of our favorite ways to do it:
Ingredients from the farm:
1 head cabbage
1 bunch scallions or 1 large onion (diced)
3/4 cup fresh parsley (diced)
4 garlic scapes or 4 cloves garlic (diced)
Ingredients from the store:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup long grain white rice
2 celery stalks (Diced)
3 tablespoons golden raisins (raisins)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parpika
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
fresh black better to taste
Your favorite tomato sauce. Best made from scratch but a can of something light and fancy from the store will do. Think Victoria brand marinara.
Make tomato sauce ahead - 24 to 28 ounces should be fine.
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil for blanching cabbage later.
Set oven to 350 degrees
Chop scallions, parsley, garlic, celery, and raisins.
Add chopped ingredients to a large bowl with beef, egg, rice, worcestershire, paprika, salt, black pepper, and 1 cup tomato sauce. Mix.
When water is boiling, drop cabbage into pot for about 5 seconds or until the outer leaves become soft and pliable. Gently remove outer leaves and lay on a work surface. Repeat until you have plenty of cabbage leaves.
Using a spoon or 1/3 measuring cup, ladle the meat and rice mixture into each cabbage leaf (feel free to double up leaves for more strength). Roll the stuffed leaves like a burrito and make tight little packages. Set aside.
Fill an oven safe pot such as an enamel dutch oven with half the tomato sauce. Place stuffed cabbages into the pot, packing tightly, and cover with remaining tomato sauce until covered.
Bake until rice is tender and cabbage can be cut with a spoon, 1.5 to 1.75 hours. Feel free to make it 2 hours to be safe. Can absolutely be served over buttered noodles if you like.