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I find the easiest way to pre-cook and soften the cabbage leaves is to core the cabbage, then place the entire head in a covered stock pot of boiling water. After about 4 minutes, carefully lift the head of cabbage out of the pot using 2 large cooking spoons; place on a dinner plate and remove the soft outer leaves. Again place the remaining head of cabbage back into the boiling water and repeat the process until all the leaves are softened and have been removed. I bake the cabbage rolls in a 325 degree oven for approximately 2 hours. This slower cooking permits the flavors to mature and also ensures tender cabbage leaves.
If you use a can of tomato sauce in place of the soup,and,1/2 can of cider vinegar with 1/2 can water (useing the tomato sauce can), you will have really delicious stuffed cabbage with a zest. Pepper barlow size tomato sauce- 15 oz.Can
These were good, however, I do prefer the rice to the bread crumbs. The tomato soup (although I do use tomato soup quite a bit) alone doesn't have enough "Zing" for Cabbage Rolls.
This is one that I grew up with, but instead of bread cumbs we used rice, and combined ground sausage with the beef, and lots of pepper. You can also bake this in the oven. Boil your cabbage leaves, roll the mixture and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, cover with the tomato sause/soup.
This is a winner. My husband loved it. I really liked the bread crumbs instead of rice. The meat balls were very easy to handle. Next time I'll probably add a dash of red pepper to the meat mixture. I did jazz up the sauce a bit. I used the condensed soup with 2T soy sauce, a T of balsamic vinegar, and a dash of red pepper. I served it with rice and a green salad. Great comfort food.