Normally, cabbage is boiled or steamed whole till leaves become soft and pliable for stuffing and rolling into rolls. This is fine, however, most of the color, flavor and vitamins and minerals are cooked out of the cabbage. The best way to maintain the color, flavor and nutrition of the cabbage is to freeze the head till solid the day before and then either thaw at room temperature or quick thaw in a large bowl of water till the leaves peel off easily. Remove, drain and cut 1" above the butt to expose and peel leaves which will look great. Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the meat and all seasonings and blend well. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, line the bottom with a few leaves to prevent the rolls from sticking and burning. To make the rolls, simply shape a small handful of the meat mixture into a small log and place at the base of a leaf. Roll up and tuck in the sides while continuing to roll. Place cabbage roll neatly in the pot and continue, making layers as you go. Fill pot with water just to cover the rolls. Place quartered garlic in the water. Cover cabbage rolls in the water with an upside down dinner plate (this will keep the cabbage rolls from floating). Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. The rice will have absorbed some of the water. Add the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. At this point, you can add a can of tomato sauce or whole tomatoes, which is optional. Simmer 10 minutes and serve. Or serve without a sauce. Either way, they are delicious. This recipe should make 16 cabbage rolls or 3 to 4 rolls per serving. Enjoy! NOTES : Cabbage rolls are fun and easy to make as well as creative. Be imaginative! There are no set rules as to what to use as a filling or as to what sauces or toppings to use. Regardless of which way you experiment, the recipe below should excite your eyes as well as your palate. Here it is.
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