This is a portuguese version of the traditional cabbage roll using veal. If you prefer, you can substitute ground beef.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim away any coarse or wilted leaves from the cabbage, and cut out as much of the core as possible. Immerse the cabbage head, core side down into the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn the cabbage over, and continue to cook until the leaves can be loosened, about 5 minutes. Use tongs or a fork to gently remove the tender pliable leaves, keeping the cabbage head immersed until all of the leaves are removed. Cool the leaves, then pare off the thick centre veins so leaves are smooth.
- Shred any cabbage leaves not suitable for filling. In a large roasting pan, place the shredded cabbage and 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, onion, garlic and spices. Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of each leaf, folding in the end and sides, rolling it to form a roll. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls, seam side down in the roasting pan in a row. Do not squeeze the cabbage rolls too tight, use a second baking dish if necessary. Continue until all of the meat is used up. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the rolls and cover with a lid.
- Bake for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until the cabbage rolls are fragrant, the cabbage is tender, the meat feels firm to the touch, and the liquid had reduced by about half.