The Simplest Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Another traditional recipe, but much easier
Cabbage rolls are another Slovak dish that stood out to me in my childhood during the church and ethnic festivals throughout the years. These would be constantly "rolling" out of the makeshift kitchen bingo halls and church basement gathering rooms at almost any event in my small hometown.
I never got a recipe from the little old church ladies, only because I was a kid and wasn't interested in that part of the meal at the time. So, through my own online searches, trials and errors, and personal tweaks, I've come up with my own version that still sticks to traditional ways, but is broken down into it's simplest form.
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 1 lb. ground beef, 80% lean
- 1/2 lb. ground pork
- 1 cup instant white rice, uncooked
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
- 1 can (28-29 oz) crushed tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Remove outer leaves of cabbage and discard. Gently peel the rest of the leaves off and rinse thoroughly with water. (Cut off at the core, then peel)
- Boil the leaves in a pot of water for about 10-12 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool. Slice off the thick core piece at the end of each leaf to make it easier to roll.
- Mix together the beef, pork, onion, carrot, and salt & pepper to taste. Incorporate these ingredients really well!
- Take a spoonful of the meat mixture and place it neatly at the bottom of a leaf. Roll it once over, then tuck the edges in, and finish the roll. Repeat until you've used all the meat mixture.
- Place each roll seam side down in a large oven-safe dish. It's okay if you have many cabbage rolls and need to squeeze them in a bit.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the condensed soup and crushed tomatoes. Pour this over the cabbage rolls. Add water until the liquids level is about a centimeter from the top of the dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for up to 3 hours. Some recipes state a cooking time of 1 1/2 hours, but I've never overcooked them by doing 3 hours. This allows ample time for the meat to cook through and for all the flavors to melt together.
- Serve with a side of rice and vegetables of your choice!