Stuffed Cabbage

I have always had a love for golumpki. This is the polish word for stuffed cabbage. It just doesn’t get much better than this. Who doesn’t love a polish style meatball swaddled in tender leaves of cabbage. On a day like this, a pot of golumpkis are the perfect comfort meal served along with a side of mashed potatoes.

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This recipe for Stuffed Cabbage is adapted from Ina Garten.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 large sweet onion chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup raisins
salt and pepper to taste
1 large head green cabbage, including outer leaves
For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 large eggs
1/2 of a large sweet onion chopped
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

Directions
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook until the onions are tender. Then, add the tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and pepper. Bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core of the cabbage with a paring knife. Place the head of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes. As the cabbage cooks, peel off each leaf with tongs as soon as it seems flexible. Set at least 12 leaves aside.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, eggs, onion, panko, rice, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture and mix lightly with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a small paring knife. Place 1/3 cup of filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll.
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Place some of the cabbage rolls in the bottom of the pot in a snuggly fashion. Then, add more sauce and more cabbage rolls alternately until you ve placed all the cabbage rolls in the pot. Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. If you have extra meat mixture and not enough cabbage leaves, simply hand form meatballs and place them on top of the cabbage rolls. They will cook just the same and taste just as delicious. Cover the dish tightly with the lid and bake for at least an hour and a half or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender. Enjoy!

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