This is a dish that my husband has been after me for months to make for him, because it was one of his favorites that his grandma use to make. This meal made the whole family happy with full bellies. It was so good the kids even did dishes with no additional begging.
1 large green cabbage
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
½ small yellow onion (grated)
4 large garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
1 large egg (beaten)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt & Pepper (I’m heavy handed with both for this dish)
2 cups cooked rice
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion (grated)
8 large garlic cloves (minced)
2 – 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1. Remove the stalk from the bottom of the cabbage head.
2. Place the cabbage in a large pot filled with 12 cups of water. Cover and place over high heat.
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the cabbage leaves become bright green and pliable, about 3-5 minutes. The leaves should not be limp, they should hold their shape.
4. Remove cabbage from water and place on a cutting board until it’s cool enough to handle. Remove the leaves & cut down the the thick stems.
5. In a large bowl combine ground beef, pork, onion, garlic, grated lemon peel, egg, salt & pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder and rice. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
6. In a medium pot over medium heat add oil. Once oil is hot, stir in grated onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Then, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Pour in crushed tomatoes, water, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper and increase heat to high. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer tomatoes for 15 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 350º and move races to upper middle positions.
8. Use a 9×13-inch baking dish and a smaller, 2-quart baking dish for this recipe. Spread ¾ cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch dish and ½ cup sauce in the bottom of the 2-quart baking dish.
STUFF & ROLL CABBAGE LEAVES:
9. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on the bottom half of a cabbage leaf. Fold up the bottom part of the cabbage leaf. Then, fold in the sides. Next, roll forward until the cabbage leaf completely covers the filling. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
10. Place the stuffed cabbage leaves into prepared 9×13 pan in neat rows. Pour most of the remaining sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls, but left some for the meatballs.
11. With left over mixture, roll into meatballs & place in smaller 2 quart dish. Pour remaining sauce on meatballs
12. Bake for 60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.