My family loves traditional stuffed cabbage, but when I was a young mom with 3 small children who all needed their meals cut up for them before serving, mine was always cold by the time I got to it! And I was always muttering about how long it took to wrap all those cabbage rolls, just to cut 'em up before anyone even got to appreciate them. One day, I decided to do ALL the cutting on the front end of the prep, and everyone loved it, not just for the ease of eating, but the sauce was now spread throughout the meat mixture, making everything more moist. A real winner in our household!
Oven: 350 degrees
Bake time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 3/4 cup cooked rice
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 small head cabbage
- 4 cups prepared tomato soup (I use the 32oz aseptic carton of Pacific Brand soup, usually found in the organic section)
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1. Precook rice.
2. Mix together egg, milk, onion, worcestershire, salt, and ground beef in a BIG bowl.
3. Chop cabbage into 1" squares. Chop enough to fit loosely into a 9x13 dish.
4. Mix sauce. Pour a thin layer into the bottom of your 9x13 dish.
5. Scatter a loose layer of the cabbage into the bottom of the dish.
6. Mix the cooked rice into the meat mixture, add a half-cup or so of the sauce, and then add a handful or two of the chopped cabbage, to keep the meat mixture loose. You don't want the meat mixture to pack together. Add to the dish. This whole step is very imprecise, add more or less cabbage as you desire, and more sauce if you feel you need it. The 9x13 will be very full, but the cabbage is going to shrink some after it gets soft.
7. Pour remaining sauce over top. Make sure all the cabbage pieces are covered with the sauce, or they'll get dried out. Bake at 350 for at least an hour.
This is one of those "old country" recipes where you really just play it by ear. The proportion of cabbage to meat to sauce is pretty flexible, so feel free to adjust to suit. It freezes well before it's baked, so I usually make a double or triple recipe and fill baking dishes until I've used all my cabbage.