German Heritage Recipe: Cabbage Rolls

I posted the other day that I wanted to make cabbage rolls.  In the end I was too lazy to get out my phone or computer to look at the recipe when I made them, so I just winged it from what I remembered from the recipe, and then called my mom.  They turned out pretty tasty, so I decided to share the recipe here.

I called it a German heritage recipe because my mom and grandmother made these all growing up (of course, I hated them then!) and my grandmother learned to make them from her mother who was a German-from-Russia.  From what I've heard, Germans-from-Russia recipes are not the same as German recipes, at least not all the time.  So I think this is a German recipe, but it could be a Russian recipe, or a mix, so take it for what you may.  If anyone knows for sure, let me know and I will update the post.  Thanks!

Cabbage Rolls
Makes 16-20 cabbage rolls (about 6 servings)

2 cans tomato sauce
8-10 large cabbage leaves
1 1/2 cups rice
1 medium onion
2 lbs ground beef
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1+ cups water

About a 1/2 an hour before starting put the rice in a small bowl and cover with water.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour about a 1/2 can of tomato sauce in a dutch oven,  swishing it around if necessary to cover the bottom.  Set aside.  Put cabbage leaves in a medium pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil until tender, about 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, drain water off rice and put in a large mixing bowl.  Grate the onion over the rice, then add the rest of the ingredients except the water.  Using your hands mix the beef with the other ingredients until well-blended.  The more you mix, the tougher your meat will be and the better it will stick together.  If you like soft cabbage rolls that crumble when you cut into them, like me, don't mix for a long time.  If you like them to hold their shape, mix longer.

When the cabbage is soft, drain the water and let it cool enough to hold the leaves in your hand.  Cut them in half along the center vein.  Holding the half-leaf in your palm, scoop some of the meat mixture onto the leaf.  The amount will depend on how large your leaf is.  Form an egg-like ball and wrap the ends of the leaf over the meat.  Place seam-side down in the dutch oven.  Once all the cabbage rolls are in, pour the remaining tomato sauce over them, then add enough water to almost cover the cabbage rolls.

Put the cover on the dutch oven and bake for one hour.


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