Heirloom Recipes

The Speedier, Just-as-Tasty Way To Enjoy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

February 20, 2018

Every so often, we scour the site for outstanding recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature—this twist on an Eastern European classic comes from lakelurelady.

Growing up, my mother and grandmother made stuffed cabbage rolls on a regular basis. It was a part of their Eastern Europe heritage, and my mother prided herself on stuffing the best cabbage rolls that anyone had ever tasted. While visiting Mom years ago, I decided it was time I learned the family recipe.

My mother’s hands were as deft as mine were clumsy and hesitant.
(This isn't that recipe.) Photo by Julia Gartland

We spent a memorable afternoon boiling and rolling cabbage leaves around seasoned ground beef and rice. The rolling had to be just so, with edges tucked and sealed. We placed them in the pot atop shredded cabbage to protect the leaves from burning. My mother’s hands were as deft as mine were clumsy and hesitant. Through the laughter, I learned part of what made her dish so delicious was practice and patience, but also the love she put in that pot along with the ingredients.

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I still make her version of cabbage rolls when I have the time. But a few years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for a soup based on all of the flavors found in stuffed cabbage rolls: a rich, tomato-y base sprinkled with slightly chewy meatballs and silky cabbage. I’ve adapted it over the years to create a recipe as rich as my mother’s. I hope you taste both the love that went into it and the heritage of a good stuffed cabbage roll.

Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I have been a serious cook from the time I first took an introductory course in French Cooking from Irena Chalmers, a cookbook author and instructor at the CIA. My first love is French cooking but I also value the importance of fresh local ingredients. The freshest ingredients seasoned right and prepared with love will result in the perfect meal.

1 Comment

Pam W. February 21, 2018
Very good. Added a second can of tomatoes and a few tablespoons of tomato paste as well as salt. But it was excellent.