Pork Cabbage Rolls With Peaches & Herbs

April  1, 2022
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This warm and comforting recipe is based on a dish my mother used to make when I was growing up in Texas. I remember the first time she made it, when I was about six or seven years old—the cabbage smelled bad to me, and I was prepared to hate it. But, in a shock to both me and my mom, I loved the cabbage rolls. She didn’t make them that often, but it was very special when she did. One day after I had moved out, I was feeling homesick and I called my mom to get her recipe so that I could try it myself. It was the end of summer and peaches were in season, so I decided to throw a few juicy peaches into the filling. The result was amazing. Now, whenever I make this dish, I think of my mom and summers in Texas with tree-ripe peaches.

This recipe calls for peach preserves so you can make this dish even when the fruit is out of season. But during the summer, I recommend substituting two fresh, ripe peaches that are peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces. Another easy and equally tasty swap is ½ cup of chopped dried peaches. —Rick Martinez

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Maker’s Mark 46®. To find out our favorite dish to serve with this cocktail, check out our digital cookbook, A Toast to Family Ties.



What You'll Need
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Pork Cabbage Rolls With Peaches & Herbs
  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystal), plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • For the filling and assembly:
  • 1 pound ground pork (20% fat)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons peach preserves
  • 2 1/2 kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head green or savoy cabbage, outer layer of leaves and core removed
  1. For the tomato sauce:
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion, garlic, salt, thyme, rosemary, allspice, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and softened but hasn’t taken on any color, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the onion mixture and set aside until ready to mix the filling.
  3. Add the whole tomatoes to the Dutch oven, breaking up into large chunks using your hands. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have melded, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the tomato sauce and set aside until ready to mix the filling.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to assemble. Note: The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead; store covered in the fridge.
  1. For the filling and assembly:
  2. Transfer the reserved onion mixture to a large bowl and add the pork, egg, parsley, rice, sour cream, peach preserves, and salt. Season generously with black pepper and mix gently until incorporated. Add 1 cup of the cooled tomato sauce and mix again gently until incorporated. The mixture will be very loose and that’s OK—it will hold its shape once it’s cooked inside the cabbage leaf. Set filling aside.
  3. Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and place a steamer basket inside. Bring water to a boil, then place cabbage in the basket. Cover and steam until the outer layer of leaves is translucent and pliable, about 3 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, gently peel off the softened leaves (being careful not to tear) and transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover pot and continue to steam cabbage until the next layer of outermost leaves is translucent and pliable, about 3 minutes more. Remove leaves and transfer to the bowl. Repeat until you have 16 leaves (14 for the rolls and 2 extra just in case). You might also have to, eventually, remove the cabbage and cut farther into the core so leaves easily detach at the base. Reserve any remaining cabbage for another use.
  4. Using a paring knife, cut a narrow V-shape into the base of each leaf on either side of the rib in order to remove the thickest part of the cabbage (this will make the leaves easier to roll).
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Portion out ⅓ cup filling into the center of each cabbage leaf. Shape filling into a log about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Starting at the base where you cut the V, fold the end of the leaf over the filling, then fold in the sides. Roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder. Repeat until you’ve rolled all 14 cabbage rolls (16, if you have extra filling).
  6. Ladle 1½ cups tomato sauce into a 13- x 9-inch pan, spreading into an even layer. Tightly pack cabbage rolls into 2 side-by-side rows (7 rolls in each). Top the cabbage rolls with remaining sauce and season with black pepper. Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake until rice is tender and cabbage can be cut with a spoon, about 75 to 90 minutes. Let sit covered for 30 minutes before serving. Note: These cabbage rolls can be baked the day before. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate (or freeze for up to 1 month). Reheat in a 350°F oven until hot, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

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