Main Meals · Meat & Poultry

Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce

Cabbage rollsCabbage rolls in tomato sauce is a carnivore’s favorite, a lightly spiced ground beef/pork filling with garlic, onion, and rice topped with a tomato sauce. It’s a comforting dish before winter comes our way (for northern hemisphere guys). It a popular dish throughout Central-East Europe up to Asian. Although they have many different variations from place to place, some are made with a side of sour cream other with savoy cabbage, etc. This version is closer to the Polish version called Gołąbki which is a mix of beef and pork filling and cook in the oven with a tomato sauce. The only difference is; I’ve made an Italian flavor twist to it and add some more garlic and thyme to the dish with a touch of cumin powder and pepper in the meat filling.cabbagerollpin

Cabbage rollsIt’s a fairly simple recipe but on the other hand it’s got a long preparation. Resulting into a sunday fest more than an everyday meal. Although once you do a bunch of those rolls, you’ll have great leftovers, plus they get even better the next day with all the flavors mixing setting in overnight. The process is quite long because you’ll need to boil and separate the cabbage leaves, then roll them up, make the sauce and then cook in the oven for an hour. But if you like to take your time, even the kiddos could help to roll some of those meat treat up. As they say: Good things come to those who wait and this is no exception.

So let’s make those meaty cabbage rolls!

Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce

Makes about 15 rolls (2 per person)

  • 800kg of ground beef-pork
  • 1 white cabbage 
  • 1 cup of precooked rice
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped (1 for the meat and 2 for the tomato sauce)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 100ml of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Start by cutting out the stem of the white cabbage and take the first “dirty”leaves off
  2. Cook the cabbage in a big pot of salty, boiling water for 10 minutes (be careful and calculate the water amount before it boils… not to overflow the boiling water over yourself.  Test in cold water before)
  3. With the help of kitchen tongs take the outside leave from the cabbage one by one as they get loose while the boiling step and let them cool
  4. Cook the white rice
  5. Cut the onion, garlic and mix into the grounded meat, rice, onion, 1 garlic clove, cumin, salt and pepper
  6. Cut of the thicker part of the stem from each cabbage leaves (makes it easy to roll)
  7. Make a cylinder form with the meat mixture
  8. Add the meat to the cabbage leaf lower end and roll them up (roll the sides in at first)
  9. Add each roll to a large and deep enough oven proof recipient
  10. Blend the tomato, 2 garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and pour over the rolls (or tomato sauce can)
  11. Add the broth, salt and pepper
  12. Cook at 180°C (350F) for an hour, covered with aluminium foil
  13. Let cool a bit before serving


Cabbage rolls

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