I've relied on this recipe for years, and my cabbage rolls never fail to impress. As the host of a number of holiday parties, my guests have come to expect this main entree.
- 12 cabbage leaves
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups cooked long grain rice
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 2 cans (one 15 ounces, one 8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In batches, cook cabbage leaves in boiling water 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; cool slightly. Trim the thick vein from the bottom of each cabbage leaf, making a V-shaped cut.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef, salt and pepper over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in rice and eggs.
- In another skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until tender. Stir in water, tomato sauce, lemon juice, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each cabbage leaf. Pull together cut edges of leaf to overlap; fold over filling. Fold in sides and roll up. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Pour sauce over rolls. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake, covered, 50-60 minutes or until heated through.
Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked cabbage rolls. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yield: 12 rolls.
Originally published as Make-Ahead Cabbage Rolls in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2016, p190
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