Nothing reminds me of Christmas more than the sultry smell of simmering cabbage rolls wafting through my house….pungent and delightfully stinky…made with love….made by mom.
My mom (Ann) and my aunt (Lynn) recently met at my house for a few weeks. Sharyn and I enjoyed a wonderful visit with them, which included countless hours of playing cards and cooking great food.
When my mom offered to make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls a wave of relief rushed through me. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas unless I have a bunch of them horded away in my freezer (and my belly), like some cabbage lovin’ squirrel fattening up for his long winter slumber.
The perfect meal…veggies (cabbage, tomatoes, kraut)…beef and pork….rice….cheese…garlic. Oh so good!
She makes them the easy way. Using only a few simple ingredients, and a family secret to save time and work.
The family secret is coring and freezing whole heads of cabbage a few days before making the rolls. This method of “softening” the cabbage leaves is so much easier than boiling and cooling them.
Freezing whole cored heads is also a great way to save fresh cabbage at the end of the growing season, so that the cabbage rolls can be made when the weather turns colder. They can be stored frozen for at least 6 months.
This recipe for Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce and Kraut makes enough for a 6 quart slow cooker. There might be a little extra depending on how tight the rolls are packed into the crock pot
- 2 medium heads cabbage, cored, rinsed well and frozen for at least 3 days prior to finishing recipe
- 3 pounds 85% lean ground beef
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups cooked long grain white rice (boil in a bag rice works well)
- 1 32 ounce jar or bag of kraut
- 2 64 ounce bottles of V-8 Juice
- 1 26 ounce can Campbells Condensed Tomato Soup
Remove frozen cabbage heads from the freezer and soak in warm water for a few hours until completely thawed, then seperate the outer larger leaves and pat dry.
Cook the rice and allow it to cool. Remove the beef and pork from the refrigerator for 1/2 hour allowing them to come to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, ground pork, garlic powder, salt, pepper, eggs, and cheese. Mix well with both hands, add the rice, and mix lightly to incorporate completely. Mix with love like mom does….
Lay a cabbage leaf flat, cut out any remaining thick white core, and slice in half lengthwise. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the meat and rice mixture towards the pointed bottom part of the cut cabbage leaf.
Roll the cabbage leaf so that the meat and rice mixture is packed tight inside. The roll should be about three inches long and one inch wide.
Tuck one end in about 1/2 inch with your pointer finger, leaving the other end of the roll open. Pack the stuffed cabbage rolls into a tight single layer in the crock pot.
This will hold them together while cooking, and allow the simmering sauce to saturate the rolls with intense flavor.
Spread a thin layer of kraut over the layer of stuffed cabbage rolls.
Repeat the layers of stuffed cabbage rolls and kraut until the crock pot is almost full. Mix the V-8 Juice and condensed tomato soup (do not add water) in a separate bowl.
Slowly pour the sauce mixture over the layered rolls. Allow the sauce to seep in between them by only adding a little at a time.
Cover the rolls completely with the sauce, but leave about an inch without sauce on the top of the crock. This will allow the liquid to simmer without overflowing.
Cook covered on high for 6-7 hours The rolls and sauce freeze well so that you can enjoy them all winter long.
Thanks for reading my blog.