Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

  • 2 lb. green cabbage
  • 4-5 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 lb. thinly julienned ham
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1 c. thinly sliced onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 c. hot chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. flour (optional)
  • 1/4 c. sour cream (optional)

Core cabbage, but keep it whole.  Blanch for 6 minutes or steam for 10-12 minutes (see note at end).   Cool slightly.  Remove the 12 best-shaped, largest leaves.  Trim ribs so that they are the same thickness as the leaves and can be easily bent.  Finely shred the rest of the cabbage.   Melt 3 Tbs. of the butter in a sauté pan and cook celery, carrots, chopped onions and 1 cup of shredded cabbage for 10 minutes, until wilted but not brown.  Add ham and garlic; cook five more minutes.  Place in a bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile, in the same pan, melt 1 Tbs. butter and sauté remaining shredded cabbage and sliced onions for 5 minutes.  Strew them in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Beat the egg and combine with the vegetable and ham mixture, the crumbs, and rosemary.  Season with pepper (salt is usually unnecessary because the ham is salty).

Place a heaping tablespoon (or more) of filling on each leaf.  Fold over the ribbed end of the leaf, then fold over the two sides and roll up.  Place in baking dish, the flap side down.  When all leaves are stuffed, pour the hot broth over them.  Cover loosely with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, basting occasionally.  Serve with just the pan juices or make a light sauce: melt 1 Tbs. butter in sauté pan, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes; pour in the pan liquids; bring to a boil, then simmer to thicken lightly; stir in sour cream and reheat without boiling.

You can replace the ham with ground beef that has been lightly sautéed and drained of fat.  Do not sauté with vegetables.

NOTE: I froze the cabbage whole a few days prior to making this dish.  Remove from freezer in the morning and by evening the leaves will peel off as if they had been blanched.  The center of the cabbage can turn brown however, so I used less in the stuffing.

From The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.  Tip on freezing from New Recipes from Moosewood.

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