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sweet and sour stuffed cabbage rolls recipe
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Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 150 minutes

Servings: 12


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Step 1

Mix the ground meat with the eggs, seasonings and rice. Cover and set aside for the flavors to meld.

Step 2

Fill a deep pan with enough water to cover the cabbage generously, and have the water boiling.

Step 3

Core the cabbage by working a sharp knife around the stem, as deeply as you can manage it.

Step 4

Drop the cabbage into the boiling water. Let it cook 2 or 3 minutes, or until the leaves have changed color and are visibly soft. Stick a long-handled fork into the hollowed-out bottom and transfer it to a deep bowl containing cold water. Let it cool a few minutes.

Step 5

Turn the cabbage right side up on a chopping block to drain. Carefully separate about 20 leaves of the best-looking and most whole leaves. The top ones may be too cooked to handle; keep peeling leaves off until you get to ones that are flexible but not overcooked. Any very large ones, slice in half the long way, alongside the rib. There’s always some tearing, but don’t worry, you can mend it. Set the leaves aside on a dish.

Step 6

Coarsely chop enough of the remaining fresh cabbage to fill 2 cups. Set aside in a separate bowl.

Step 7

Shape the meat mixture into a plump square. Keep it as even as possible. With a long knife, divide the square into thirds, then each third into three pieces. Wet your hands and lightly roll a piece between your palms to make a plump rectangle.

Step 8

Choose a cabbage leaf and place the meat rectangle at the base, above the stiff bottom. The curly top of the leaf should be face up. Roll the bottom up over the meat. Tuck the sides in once, and roll up. Keep rolling and tucking until the meat is encased in the leaf. Secure the bottom side with a toothpick. Fill all the leaves this way.

Step 9

Any leftover meat can be rolled into balls and placed around the stuffed leaves later.

Step 10

Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).

Step 11

Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Keeping the heat medium, cook and stir the onion until soft. Add the chopped cabbage; cook and stir until the cabbage wilts. Stir the garlic in.

Step 12

Add the blended canned tomatoes (or pureed fresh tomatoes with water and tomato paste).

Step 13

Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the sauce looks like it’s drying out. Taste and adjust the sweetness/sourness to your liking, adding more vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, in small quantities, until you’re satisfied.

Step 14

Place baking parchment on the bottom of a casserole dish or roasting pan. Ladle in enough of the sauce to cover the bottom of the paper. Place the stuffed rolls on the sauce, seam side down. Tuck any meatballs into corners.

Step 15

Ladle the rest of the sauce over the rolls. Cover the casserole with tin foil. Bake 2 hours. Try not to peek.

Step 16

Serve, and enjoy.

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