If you’re having a hard time separating the leaves from the fresh cabbage, you can core the hard part and immerse the whole head of cabbage in boiling water for a minute to loosen the leaves and then carefully peel away the outer leaves for making the rolls. Once you get to the inner part and find it is difficult to peel, immerse it again in the simmering water so they come off easily. You may find that some cabbage leaves have a thick rib that keeps it from rolling up easily. If healthy recipes are the case, carefully trim the thick end of the cabbage leaves with a sharp paring knife.
This healthy dinner recipe includes ground beef, ground pork, and cooked rice to make the filling, enhanced with egg to bind them together and seasoned with celery, salt, and pepper. You can purchase already ground meat recipes in the grocery or ground the meat yourself if you have a meat grinder at home. Cook the rice beforehand so that you simply have to add it to the rest of the ingredients when you’re ready to cook the stuffed cabbage rolls. You can also use all-pork, or all-beef if this is your preference but a combination of both produces an exquisite flavor and more interesting texture.
Ingredients: 8 large cabbage leaves, boiling water, 1 egg, 1 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground pork, 1/2 tsp. salt, /2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper, 1 cup celery, minced, 1 cup cooked rice, 3 cans (8 oz.) of tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cabbage leaves into a large mixing bowl. Fill a large saucepan with water. Heat on high heat until boiling. Pour water over cabbage leaves and let stand for 5 minutes or until leaves are wilted. In the meantime, beat the egg in a medium-size bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the tomato sauce, and mix together well. Drain water from cabbage leaves. Lay them out, one at a time, and place a large spoonful of the meat mixture into the center of each. Roll them up and hold them together with toothpicks. Place rolled cabbage leaves into a large, flat baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over them. Bake for 45 minutes.
To fold the roll neatly, place the filling near the edge of the cabbage leaf leaving some space or flap to cover the meat and then fold the left and right sides like folding the margins of a paper. Continue rolling the cabbage like a fat cigar until it is completely and snugly sealed and then use a toothpick to hold it all together. The tomato sauce is poured over the stuffed and rolled cabbage once everything is in the pot and then the whole thing is baked in a 375 degree F oven for forty-five minutes.