Kittencal's Cabbage Rolls With Tomato Sauce

READY IN: 3hrs 40mins
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Set oven to 350 degrees F (second-lowest oven rack).
  • Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or use a larger pan (for easier clean up I strongly advise to use a disposable heavy foil pan).
  • Make certain that the cabbage heads are completely thawed before using for this (to do this remove the heads of cabbage from freezer and place in a bowl then thaw at room temperature overnight).
  • Using a small sharp knife carefully remove the hard core/stem from the center of the head, then remove the leaves from the cabbage (you may need to keep slicing off some middle part to remove the leaves easier).
  • To speed up cooking time you may want to cook the leaves in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes this will give the cabbage rolls a head start and reduce cooking time slightly.
  • Using your hands gently squeeze out 2 to 3 leaves at a time to remove excess water, then place the leaves in a large bowl; set aside.
  • FOR MEAT FILLING; using clean hands mix all ingredients together for the meat filling in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
  • FOR SAUCE; in another bowl combine all sauce ingredients together until blended (adjust the salt and pepper to taste).
  • Line the bottom of the pan with cabbage leaves (due to the long cooking time this will protect the rolls from over browning/burning in the pan while cooking, you may also place leaves on top of the sauce then cover with foil but that is optional).
  • Using a large spoon or a ladle drizzle half of the sauce over the leaves then spread out to cover the leaves (does not have to cover the leaves completely).
  • Stuff the cabbage leaves tightly but carefully with the meat mixture (I use about 1/3-cup for larger leaves).
  • Roll up tightly and place the rolls in a single layer on top of the cabbage leaves and sauce in the baking dish.
  • Drizzle the remaining sauce over the rolls (using a butter knife separate the rolls slightly to insure the sauce settles between and around each roll).
  • Sprinkle about 1/2 cup or a little more sauerkraut over the sauce (if using).
  • At this point you may cover the rolls with more leaves if desired (this is optional but good to do).
  • Cover tightly with foil.
  • IMPORTANT; if you are using a 13 x 9-inch dish it will be very full so place on a large jelly-roll pan to catch any spills.
  • Cook at 350 degrees F (oven rack set to second-lowest position) for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the cabbage is very tender, the cooking time will vary depending on how thick the cabbage leaves are and if you have pre-boiled the leaves firstly, I usually check after about 2 hours).
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