Smoky Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

January  2, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Makes 10-12 cabbage rolls
Author Notes

To ring in 2014, here's a good old pork and cabbage recipe. You're gonna use a lot of pots and pans, so make sure you have a helper to clean as you go. Tell your significant other to get their butt off the couch. Happy New Year!! —Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

What You'll Need
  • for the cabbage rolls
  • 1 head savoy or green cabbage
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup white rice (basmati or jasmine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tablespoon
    1/2 tbsp hot smoky paprika

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 3 strips thick smoky bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • for the tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Italian spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoky paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. for the cabbage rolls
  2. Start by getting the rice going. Bring chicken broth or water to a boil. Add rice, salt and pepper, lower to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
  3. As rice cooks, in a high lipped saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, smoky paprika, salt and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and red wine. Let reduce and thicken for 3-4 minutes. Remove and add to same mixing bowl as rice.
  4. In the mixing bowl, stir in the ground pork, egg, 1/2 tbsp paprika, salt and pepper. Mix to combine into a thick meaty combination. Set aside until the cabbage leaves are ready.
  5. Get the cabbage leaves ready for stuffing. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and give it some salt. Cut out the bottom core of the head of cabbage and carefully remove the outer leaves. You want them to be whole leaves, so do this step carefully. Get as many as you can, hopefully somewhere around 10-12 large ones. Drop the cabbage leaves into the boiling water and blanch for 4 minutes. Remove and shake off excess water. Transfer to a clean working surface.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking dish or Dutch oven, line the bottom with excess pieces of cabbage (not the ones you blanched). Add a layer of 3 bacon strips on top of the cabbage.
  7. Now stuff the cabbage leaves. Add about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture to the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll it up tightly and put in the baking dish on top of the bacon. Repeat step until all leaves are stuffed and meat mixture is gone. Tuck them in the dish together tightly.
  8. Cover with tomato sauce (recipe below), cover with lid or foil, and pop into the oven for 40 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.
  1. for the tomato sauce
  2. I used the same pan for this as the one I sautéed the onions and garlic in for the stuffing. So start this right when you transfer the onions to the mixing bowl.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, paprika, Italian spices, salt, and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add whole tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes. Chop the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to break them down periodically.
  4. Spoon over cabbage rolls as noted above. The paprika in the tomato sauce is so delicious. I couldn't decide whether I liked the cabbage rolls or the tomato sauce more.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

2 Reviews

Direne November 11, 2014
I come from a long line of stuffed cabbage (holubtsi in Ukrainian) makers. Love the smoked paprika, but wonder if the ground pork should be browned before mixed in with the rice?
Randy August 11, 2019
My Mamma made some of the best Stuffed cabbage rolls ever. I asked her to teach me how they were made one time on leave from the military, and specifically remember her wrapping the meat rolls uncooked, with the parboiled cabbage leafs. They will cook in the liquid sauce of water, tomato paste and spices in a slow cooker on low for a few hours and they will be fine.