Thanksgiving in our family meant a splendid array of signature dishes, prepared with the upmost care and attention. Everyone had a special dish that everyone loved to share at the holiday table. These cabbage rolls are based upon my Grandma Rita's method, bacon withheld to consider it 'vegetarian'. Although I would suggest the use of bacon if you are not strictly serving vegetarians at your holiday feast. —midnitechef
1 or 2
heads of green cabbage
clove of garlic, minced
uncooked short grain rice
jar marinara (preferably homemade canned tomatoes)
Cook the rice with a good pinch of sea salt. Allow the rice to cool so it will be easier to handle.
Core the cabbage and dunk into gently boiling water. As the outter layers soften, peel them off with tongs and set aside to drain.
Saute the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. (Variation: render about 6 slices of bacon and use a tablespoon of the fat)
Combine the rice with the onion and garlic. This is the filling for the leaves. (Variation: include crumbled bacon with the rice)
Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rice mixture in a single cabbage leaf, starting at the stem side. Fold the sides in as you go, like a burrito.
Place the rolls into the casserole dish, seam side down. Tuck them all into the dish pretty close together, this will prevent them from opening up while baking.
Once the casserole is full, cover generously with additional tomato sauce. Bake, covered, for an hour. Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes.
Tip: The tomato sauce plays a forefront role when you first taste a cabbage roll, use the best sauce you can for this recipe. A homemade batch of canned tomatoes thrown in the blender with some salt and pepper, then reduced over medium-low heat would be favorable.