Traditional cabbage rolls are supposed to take forever to make. Some recipes call for hours of slave like preparation and two days of cooking. Those were the cabbage rolls of my Russian grandmother's era. I'm not so sure why they need massive amounts of preparation. They taste just as good to me the "quick" way. I think it's in Russian women's blood to do everything the hard way. I constantly fight against this in my genes. But when it comes to cooking, I refuse to spend hours on something that should take minutes to accomplish. Oh, and by the way, these are not the traditional version anyway. I have made them paleo friendly and changed up the ingredients.
You do need a bit of time for the preparation so keep in mind that this is not a 15 minute recipe. It is best reserved for the weekend or a time when you aren't rushed and out of breath which for me is precisely two times per year.
When you are done your efforts will be rewarded in that you will have a wonderful, flavorful and joyous dinner where everyone at the table will be singing your praises. Who wouldn't want that!
What you'll need:
A green cabbage
1lb grass fed ground beef
1T Italian seasoning
1tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup of onion, grated
for the sauce:
1 8oz can low salt tomato sauce
1/2 can of tomato paste
1T Dijon mustard
1/2 a lemon, squeezed
What you do:
Preheat your oven to 350. Put the cabbage in a large pot and cover it with water. Boil the cabbage until the leaves are soft and easily removed. This takes about 15 minutes from the boiling point. I promise the nasty boiling cabbage smell is temporary. While the cabbage boils take your meat, spices, onion and egg and mix them up in a bowl. You know the rule: mix with your hands not a spoon. When the cabbage is soft, peel the leaves off one by one and put them on a plate to drain and cool. While they cool mix up the sauce in a separate bowl. Ok, so you're about 25 minutes in. Not bad considering you could have been toiling for about eight hours by now. On what, I'm not quite sure but I promise that tradition says you must spend at least this amount of time before you get the cabbage rolls in the oven. Maybe my grandmother was secretly making vodka while making the rolls and that is what was taking so long.
So now you're ready for the assembly. If you're really into it you can put on a house coat, apron and scarf. Now you look like my Russian grandmother. It's good karma... your rolls will taste better if you do. Make sure you send me a picture. Line the bottom of a baking dish with some of the smaller cabbage leaves. Take a cabbage leaf and hold it in your hand. Trim the thickness of the stem down so it's easier to roll. Plop some of the meat mixture on the leaf and roll the leaf up tucking the sides of it in so the meat is completely covered. If the leaf is too big you can cut the excess off. Put it in the baking dish. Repeat until all the meat is used. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the rolls and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on how big you made your rolls. This recipe makes between seven and ten rolls. Double up if you have a larger family.
That's all there is to it. No days of labor needed!