This recipe is at my mom's request. She has always been the one who made our cabbage rolls growing up. I fed these ones to her recently, and she said they were the best she ever had. So these are for you, mom.
I started this blog with full intentions of touching on culture and ingredients I love from around the world. These are a food that take me back to childhood, specifically the holidays. In Cape Breton there is a large Lebanese community and these were one of those treats that were often found at big gatherings.
Let's set things straight: I love cabbage. I think it's super versatile, healthy and tasty. I also love tomato sauce, so when you mix them together they create something truly divine and crave-able. These freeze really well, so if you are going to put the labour in to this, I would highly suggest doing this in large batches and clearing space in the freezer.
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup arborio rice or barley
- 1 large white onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, diced small
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1 can of tomato soup concentrate (not the diluted kind)
- 1.5 cups veggie broth
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a large pot, boil cabbage for around 40 mins until soft. Put in ice water to shock.
- In large sauté pan, fry onions with salt for 3 mins until translucent and soft.
- Add 1 clove garlic, thyme, 1/2 tsp cayenne and saute until fragrant
- Add rice to pan an sauté 3 mins.
- At 1/4 of a cup at a time, add the vegetable broth to the rice. Only add another 1/4 of a cup at a time after the previous is absorbed by the rice.
- Add beef and cook until brown
- Add half can of tomato soup and bring to a simmer. Set mixture aside.
- In a sauce pan, add 2 cloves garlic and tomato paste saute for 2 mins
- Add large can of diced tomatoes w/ juices, remaining tomato soup, tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp cayenne & fish sauce
- Bring tomato sauce to a low simmer. Let simmer for 30 mins.
- While sauce is simmering, roll the cabbage rolls.
- One leaf at a time, put around 1 tbs of the meat/rice mixture in the leaf at the end near your body.
- Roll the meat in the leaf in one rotation away from your body
- Tuck both sided in and continue to roll. This will make a tight bundle.
- Place cabbage rolls in a roasting pan that is greased with olive oil (You can also line with additional cabbage leaves)
- Pour bubbling sauce over the cabbage rolls
- Bake in the oven at 350 for 45 mins.
- Bring to a complete cool before freezing.