Cabbage Roll with Meat Filling

Miriam George, June 11, 2014

Serving size of Cabbage Roll with Meat Filling: 6-12 rolls

Ingredients for Cabbage Roll with Meat Filling:

1. 2 large heads savoy cabbage
2. 5 tbsp/70 g unsalted butter
3. 1/4 cup/40 g coarsely chopped onion
4. 4 cups/630 g cooked white rice
5. 1 lb/455 g coarsely chopped boneless pork or chicken (thigh meat will be juicier, but white
meat works as well)
6. Salt and freshly ground pepper
7. 2 cups/480 ml chicken broth or stock

Directions to prepare Cabbage Roll with Meat Filling:

1. Fill a large pot—one in which you can submerse a whole head of cabbage—with water and bring to a boil. (It is helpful to use a pot with a strainer insert, such as a pasta pot, so you can pick up the insert to remove the cooked cabbage, rather than struggle with spoons or tongs.) Add the first head of cabbage and parboil for about 10 minutes. Remove and let it drain in a colander in the sink until just cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, cook the second head of cabbage, drain, and cool.

2. Gently pull the outer leaves off each cabbage. (Some of these might be soggy or torn.) Set these aside to line the baking dish. It helps to cut off some of the coarse stem at the beginning and while peeling off the leaves. Your goal is to have 12 to 16 perfect medium to large leaves in which to roll the stuffing. Set aside the small leaves for lining the baking dish as well. If you can get more than 16 leaves to stuff, do so—you can never have too many little doves. Pat each leaf dry and set aside on a kitchen or paper towel.

3. In a small frying pan, melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and put the onion, rice, and chopped meat into a food processor; season with salt and pepper; and whirl until well mixed. You want to be careful not to overprocess the filling—it should have the consistency of raw meatballs, and not be mushy.

4. Lay out the “choice” cabbage leaves on a work surface and divide the filling among the leaves: The exact portion size for each one will depend on the size of the leaf. (I dollop the filling on with a tablespoon, placing it near the bottom of the leaf). If any stem remaining on the leaf seems especially tough or thick, you can pare it down with a vegetable peeler. Roll the leaves up, folding in the sides and ends so the stuffing is enclosed.

5. Line the bottom of a 9-x-12-in/23-x-30.5-cm baking dish with any leftover cabbage leaves. (If, after lining the dish, you find you still have a lot of leftover leaves, store them in the refrigerator and eventually chop them, cook in butter, and season with salt and pepper to serve as a side dish for another meal!). Rest the rolls on top, seam-side down; they can be crowded together, just so long as they don’t overlap. If you run out of room in one baking dish, start a smaller, second one, lining it the same way.

6. Pour in the chicken broth (it should come about a third of the way up the sides of the rolls, and not submerge them). Dot the tops of the rolls with the remaining 3 tbsp butter. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tops are golden and slightly crispy.

7. Remove the cabbage rolls to a platter and keep warm (you can tent them with foil and keep them in the turned-off oven). Discard the leaves lining the baking dish, but reserve the broth, which will be added to the mushroom sauce.

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