This was adapted from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. When I read that it included crushed gingersnap cookies and a clove studded onion I just had to try it out. My family was not disappointed in the least. The flavor was worth the extra preparation and ingredients. I served this with an endive and butter lettuce salad topped with blue cheese crumbles and glazed pecans and tossed in a basic red wine vinaigrette for an amazing autumn meal. This is for the adventurous or experienced cook, enjoy!
- 1 head green cabbage, cored
- 1⁄4 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 onions, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
- 2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 onion, peeled
- 8 whole cloves
- 12 small gingersnaps, pounded into course crumbs
- 1⁄2 cup raisins (optional)
- Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to boil in large dutch oven over high heat. Add cored cabbage and cook until outer leaves just begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to gently remove leaves (outer 20) one by one and transfer to a colander to cool. Remove any remaining head of cabbage and let cool. Do not discard water.
- Return water to boil over high heat. Add rice and cook until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain the rice through a strainer, rinse it to cool, and let drain thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice, onion, beef, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
- Trim tough ribs from cabbage leaves and tightly roll 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into each leaf. Shred the remaining blanched cabbage both the head and any remaining leaves.
- Scatter half the shredded cabbage leaves in a large dutch oven. Arrange rolls seam side down snugly on top of the shredded cabbage. Sprinkle any remaining shredded cabbage on top of rolls.
- Combine diced tomatoes w/ juice, tomato puree, water (I use water left over from rice) 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pour liquid over cabbage. Stud peeled onion with cloves and submerge in liquid. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
- Discard clove studded onion. Sprinkle crushed cookies and raisins (if using) into the pot and shake to incorporate them without disturbing rolls. Simmer uncovered until sauce begins to thicken, about 1 hour.
- If you desire more liquid, add 1 cup of beef broth.
- Transfer rolls to serving dish and add remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to sauce and season with salt pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over rolls and top with sour cream and chopped parsley if desired.