Makes 12 to 15 cabbage rolls, 6 servings
For the sweet and sour tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 quart crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cabbage rolls:
3 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Splash dry red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large egg
3/4 - 1 cup cooked white or brown rice, al dente
3 tablespoons raisins
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large green cabbage
1. Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar) and honey (or sugar); simmer, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
2. Place a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft and just browning. Stir in the tomato paste, a splash of wine, parsley, and 1/2 cup of the prepared sweet and sour tomato sauce; mix to incorporate and then take it off the heat. Add the ground beef, egg, cooked rice, and raisins to this sauteed onion mixture in either the pan or a large bowl. Combine well (using your hands works best); season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel any cabbage leaves off of the head that will come off easily. Blanch the remaining head for 3 to 4 minutes and remove to a colander. Blanch the individual leaves for 1 to 2 minutes and remove from the water to a colander. Peel off 15 or 16 leaves.
4. Oil an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the cabbage snugly.
5. Place one leaf on the counter, stem end toward you. Trim the tough center rib at the stem end, as far up as it seems tough.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Put about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling in the bottom of each leaf, fold ½ inch from each side over the center, and roll up (like a burrito), then place the packet seam side down in a baking dish on top of the sauce. Continue until all the filling is used up. Remaining cabbage can be reserved for another use or chopped and tucked into the sides of the baking dish if desired. Pour the remaining sweet and sour sauce on top and around the cabbage rolls. Cover tightly with foil.
8. Bake for 1 hour until the meat is cooked.
Per serving: 493 calories, 43 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams sugar, 15 grams fat, 132 milligrams cholesterol, 426 milligrams sodium, 8 grams dietary fiber.
| Appetizer; Hors d'oeuvre; Main dish; Side dish