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Kittencal's Cabbage Rolls With Tomato Sauce

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“This is my own recipe that I have made for over 25 years, I have made these for weddings, socials and large get togethers and everyone loves them --- I have two large cabbage listed as you will need extra cabbage leaves to line the bottom and top of the pan to prevent the rolls from over browning which may happen during the long cooking time --- cooked rice will also be fine for this and if you like lots of rice you may increase amount --- make certain that the heads of cabbage are frozen then completely thawed before starting this recipe, this will allow for easy removal of the leaves, allow the frozen cabbage heads thaw at room temperature overnight in bowls --- to save some time I most always remove the cabbage leaves a day ahead and refrigerate in a bowl and you may even prepare the ground beef mixture a day ahead so the following day just mix the sauce roll and cook --- for these cabbage rolls I do not precook the ground beef it will cook thoroughly in the oven --- I have listed the sauerkraut as optional if you are a sauerkraut-lover then add it in I most always do it really adds extra flavor to the cabbage and you may use more than 1/2 cup if desired --- the amounts listed will fill a 13 x 9-inch pan very full or even better so you do not over crowd the rolls a larger pan may be used or use two pans and freeze one for another meal, just thaw overnight in the fridge then allow to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours then cook as stated --- if you like lots of sauce then you may double amounts but I would suggest to make it in a larger baking pan if you are doubling the sauce.”
3hrs 40mins
16-20 cabbage rolls

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F (second-lowest oven rack).
  2. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or use a larger pan (for easier clean up I strongly advise to use a disposable heavy foil pan).
  3. Make certain that the cabbage heads are completely thawed before using for this (to do this remove the heads of cabbage from freezer and place in a bowl then thaw at room temperature overnight).
  4. Using a small sharp knife carefully remove the hard core/stem from the center of the head, then remove the leaves from the cabbage (you may need to keep slicing off some middle part to remove the leaves easier).
  5. To speed up cooking time you may want to cook the leaves in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes this will give the cabbage rolls a head start and reduce cooking time slightly.
  6. Using your hands gently squeeze out 2 to 3 leaves at a time to remove excess water, then place the leaves in a large bowl; set aside.
  7. FOR MEAT FILLING; using clean hands mix all ingredients together for the meat filling in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
  8. FOR SAUCE; in another bowl combine all sauce ingredients together until blended (adjust the salt and pepper to taste).
  9. Line the bottom of the pan with cabbage leaves (due to the long cooking time this will protect the rolls from over browning/burning in the pan while cooking, you may also place leaves on top of the sauce then cover with foil but that is optional).
  10. Using a large spoon or a ladle drizzle half of the sauce over the leaves then spread out to cover the leaves (does not have to cover the leaves completely).
  11. Stuff the cabbage leaves tightly but carefully with the meat mixture (I use about 1/3-cup for larger leaves).
  12. Roll up tightly and place the rolls in a single layer on top of the cabbage leaves and sauce in the baking dish.
  13. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the rolls (using a butter knife separate the rolls slightly to insure the sauce settles between and around each roll).
  14. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup or a little more sauerkraut over the sauce (if using).
  15. At this point you may cover the rolls with more leaves if desired (this is optional but good to do).
  16. Cover tightly with foil.
  17. IMPORTANT; if you are using a 13 x 9-inch dish it will be very full so place on a large jelly-roll pan to catch any spills.
  18. Cook at 350 degrees F (oven rack set to second-lowest position) for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the cabbage is very tender, the cooking time will vary depending on how thick the cabbage leaves are and if you have pre-boiled the leaves firstly, I usually check after about 2 hours).

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