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Mother's Best Stuffed Cabbage

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“Regional differences account for many different tastes in various ethnic foods. This stuffed cabbage recipe is Hungarian/Romanian and is a family treasure passed down from my mother. We usually save it for the holidays but sometimes we just can't wait until then! With a loaf of sourdough bread, it's heaven on a plate. (This recipe is big -- can be halved for a smaller crowd.) Enjoy!”
5hrs 45mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large pot (or two separate pots if cabbage won't fit in one), add enough water to come halfway up cabbage heads and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until a knife can be inserted about 1/4 inch into each cabbage head. Remove the cabbage heads from the water one at a time and remove outer leaves to a platter covered with paper towels to drain and cool. Only the outer leaves will be cooked - when you reach the point where the leaves are still raw, return cabbage heads to the boiling water to cook thoroughly until a knife can be inserted all the way to the middle of the head. Remove remaining cabbage heads from water and carefully peel away remaining leaves, adding them to the first batch. Stop peeling leaves when you reach the small ones as they will not be big enough to make rolls. Also, set aside any damaged or overcooked leaves. Save the remaining cabbage heads, save the water in which the heads were boiled, and set the leaves aside.
  2. Heat oil in a separate skillet. Add onion and cook until tender.
  3. Add paprika to onion (onion should be heavily coated with paprika - add more paprika than called for if needed).
  4. In large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion mixture, salt & pepper. Mix well.
  5. One at a time, place about 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of a leaf (adjust the amount of meat by the size of the leaf). Starting at the outer part of the leaf, roll the leaf down around the meat, folding in the sides of the leaf as you go. Continue making rolls until you either run out of meat or leaves. (Note: Any remaining meat mixture may be frozen for next time.) Place rolls on a platter and set aside.
  6. Chop up any damaged leaves and the leftover cabbage heads.
  7. Place half of the chopped cabbage in the bottom of a large pot (not to exceed about 2 inches in depth).
  8. Add 1 can of tomato sauce.
  9. Add 1 can of sauerkraut (including juices).
  10. Layer cabbage rolls on top of mixture.
  11. Add 1 can of tomato sauce.
  12. Add 1 can of sauerkraut.
  13. Add enough of the cabbage water to cover.
  14. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 5-6 hours at a simmer. Make sure you cook at a simmer as a hard boil will damage the rolls.

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