Yields: 8 | Time: 2 hrs
1 large head of cabbage
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 large onions
3 large carrots
3 celery stocks
5 cloves garlic
7 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup long grain rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 can 35oz Italian peeled tomatoes
1 can 35oz diced tomatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 egg beaten
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/3 minced Italian parsley
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the vinegar and salt heavily with kosher salt. Place the cabbage in pot, and use a plate to keep submerged. Cook about 5 minutes until the leaves soften. Remove the cabbage and dip in ice bath of water. Carefully use a pairing knife to slice at the core base of the cabbage releasing to softly release each leaf at a time. Once you have roughly 16 large leaves of cabbage, put the rest to side for later use.
2. Peel the carrots and cut them into tiny cubes (brunoise) follow the same with the celery. Dice the onion, and mince the garlic.
3. In a sauce pan, sauté 1/2 cup of onion in light olive oil till translucent. Stir in rice add 1 1/2 cup chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. Set aside and cool. Don't worry as the rice will cook more inside the cabbage.
4. In a large casserole sauté garlic, and remaining onion in olive oil for 3 min. Then follow with the celery and carrots for 3 min. Take half the remainder and combine with beef/pork in large bowl. In the casserole add the cans of tomatoes, stir, and pour in cup chicken stock. Simmer gently while you prepare the stuffing.
5. In your ground meats mixing bowl add the beaten egg, breadcrumbs, reserved rice, parsley, and heavily season with salt & pepper.
6. For mixture I like to use an ice cream scooper to keep them portioned roughly about the same size. Working with one cabbage leaf at a time place the portioned stuffing perpendicular to the stem. Roll the leaf folding over the left side and then the right over the mixture while rolling down till its perfectly snugged. Repeat with remaining leaves and stuffing.
7. In the casserole use any extra leaves from cabbage to lay on the base below the sauce. This will prevent cabbage rolls from sticking. Lay them down in the pan gently with the folded side on bottom. Heat should be on simmering for 30 min. Reduce to low for 1 hour and cover for last 30 min of that hour. Option to finish in oven as well. To serve spoon the tomato sauce on top of the rolls, and use a tea spoon of sour cream to garnish on top.
Note: Overnight it really comes together and has the best flavors next day.