I love stuffed cabbage and my Grandmother made the most amazing stuffed cabbage ever . I love stuffed cabbage but do not feel like dealing with the actual stuffing of the cabbage, it is way too labor intensive for me. I have made several variations of this and found this one to my liking the best. You can play with the ingredients which is what I did . Original recipe is from Kosher by Design and it is perfect for Passover by just leaving out the rice and substituting matzoh meal in its place. Most perfect for Rosh Hashana and use rice. Basically this is meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cabbage . I doubt very much that Joel would ever eat real “stuffed cabbage” but he liked this. The cabbage cooks down so much that you don’t even realize you’re eating cabbage. I also used 1/2 chicken ground meat and 1/2 beef ground meat , this is entirely up to you. I wouldn’t do all chicken because it might be a bit dry, you can definitely make this with turkey but use dark meat turkey or the balls will also be very dry. You can also make this ahead for the holidays which is always a very good thing and feel free to freeze it. This is the original recipe , adjust amounts for how much you’re making. I made 2 lbs. of meat but made full sauce as I was testing it out. You’ll want to use a large pot for this recipe. Enjoy!
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3 lbs. ground meat– I used chicken and beef (dark meat turkey is best here) white meat turkey tends to be very dry. Mixed with beef it’s fine but if using alone you’ll need to use dark meat ground turkey.
2 large eggs, lightly beaten. Use room temperature eggs they work best.*see my post about eggs–a little note on my blog.
3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice, for Passover use matzoh meal and omit the rice
1/4 cup water
1 onion finely chopped
Kosher Salt to taste–app. 1/2 to 1 tablespoon
Pepper to taste–app. 10 grinds on a pepper mill, or app. 1/4 of a tablespoon
*garlic powder if you like
2 packages of shredded cabbage, probably about 1 head of cabbage finely shredded, no need to do it when you can buy it pre-shredded (not red cabbage)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt to taste ( app. 1/2 tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
4 8 ounce cans tomato sauce ( or 32 ounces)
1/2 cup brown sugar ( use whichever brown sugar you have in house , it won’t make a difference. Light or Dark, I actually used dark.
1 cup sugar
3 lemons squeezed , I got about 1/2 cup , they were smallish lemons
1/2 cup raisins
In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, eggs, water, rice and onions. Season with Salt and Pepper , and if you like garlic powder. Gently mix by hand, and I do mean gently, if you over do it the meat will be like concrete. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shredded cabbage and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and the raisins. Stir till well combined and continue cooking sauce at simmer setting.
Gently form meatballs out of the meat mixture, I made a rather nice size meatball, not too large and not too small. Make whatever size you’d like. Just do not over-handle the meat because it will cause meat to toughen. Add to cabbage mixture, just drop into the hot sauce and do not stir, you can pile them on top of one another because they will cook down.
I left it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours . I didn’t touch the meat balls for at least the first 1/2 hour, you’ll want them to cook through and form into nice balls before you stir, so just leave them to cook. After the first 1/2 hour or so you can gently stir and move the meatballs around. They don’t require a lot of stirring around .
This dish brought back memories of my childhood and was a most satisfying main dish.