Yesterday was my first attempt at real stuffed cabbage, and it didn’t go quite as expected. Guess I need some practice.
I started with four large cabbage leaves. I removed the rib (the thick, crunchy “stem” part in the middle of each leaf), then cut each leaf into two since they were so big. Maybe that was my first problem. I boiled the leaves for about five minutes (give or take five; I wasn’t really paying attention to the time) to make them more pliable.
While the leaves were boiling, I cooked a pound of ground beef with one medium diced onion, a clove or two of garlic, some salt and pepper, and some fresh parsley and thyme. I also started 3/4 cup of brown rice (2:1 water-to-rice ratio, so 1 1/2 cups water). Some recipes call for tomato sauce, some don’t. Instead of sauce, I took most of the tomatoes I had left on the counter, chopped them up, and added them to the beef to cook until they basically disintegrated.
When the rice was finished, I added it to the beef mixture. Then laying each leaf flat, I put about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of filling in each one, and rolled them up nicely. Or not. Here’s where things got messed up. I probably didn’t boil the leaves quite long enough, so there was still just a bit of resistance when I was trying to fold the thicker parts. There were also some small tears that just got bigger as I folded them, and filling was spilling out all over. In any case, I got one into a pretty nice roll, but the rest I had to resort to folding up as best I could and then using toothpicks to hold them. Shameful.
When the “rolls” were finished being assembled, I put them into a large pot with 1/2 of water (actually just used the water and pot I boiled the leaves in), and simmered over low heat for about 45 more minutes. They tasted good (S likes sauce on everything, and thought they could have used actual tomato sauce), but were nothing to look at. As such, I didn’t even bother taking pictures.
I may try these again at some point in the future, but for now, I’ll stick to making stuffed cabbage soup. Tastes the same, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to prepare.