Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free [Sponsored]
Stuffed cabbage was one of my Omah’s specialties. I have distinct and treasured memories of arriving at her house in Brooklyn, sitting at her kitchen table and tucking into a steaming bowl of sweet and sour cabbage rolls stuffed with meat with rice. Oh, yummy yum.
This month, courtesy of Fairway Market, I made this very Jewish of dishes: stuffed cabbage. It’s a humble, hearty yet surprisingly light dish. Like many old-world cuisine staples, it transforms simple, easy to find/buy/procure ingredients: tomatoes, onions, raisins, sugar, vinegar, meat and cabbage into a luscious meal that will feed an army. And the sweet and sour flavor (I mean meat with sugar and raisins and vinegar and lemon?!) is something that the moment you have it, you just want more.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t find many great recipes on the internet and even within my Jewish or Kosher cookbooks. So many recipes had additions that didn’t feel right to me: garlic, cornstarch, citrus peel, paprika, ground turkey, pork (ack never!), apples, cream. OY! So, I combined the recipes and techniques of Ina Garten and Joan Nathan and came up with this dish. I know my Omah would be proud
There are three components to this dish: tomato sauce, steamed cabbage leaves and a ground meat mixture. The more you can do ahead, the easier this recipe becomes, really an assembly job at its easiest. You can do this all in one day, like a Sunday or Friday early if you’re cooking for Shabbat but too much time on your feet I say.
How I made this: I threw the tomato sauce together one night and cooked the rice while the tomato sauce was bubbling. I also chopped more onions for the meat mixture, ahead of time. The day of, I steamed the cabbage leaves, mixed up the mix and assembled. So much easier!
This recipe is free from: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and dairy.
It does have eggs in the meat mixture which if you are egg-free, use your favorite egg-replacer. Here’s a nice article from Allergic Living about egg replacers or just skip the egg and know the meat mixture will be a little denser.
You can skip tomato paste, if you don’t want to open a can just for one tablespoon . I happen to have some lying around because of making Cybele’s Pascal’s Taco recipe earlier in the week.
I used Lucicni Extra Virgin olive oil.
I used 4 cans for 14 ounce diced organic tomatoes because that’s what I had in my pantry.
I used Eden foods red wine vinegar.
I used sugar in the raw, brown sugar.
I used Sun Maid raisins.
I used Morton course Kosher salt.
I used Fairway organic large eggs.
I used Fairway brand ground chuck beef.
I used a generic brand of white rice. Use any kind of rice you like but definitely cook it.
Cabbage: if you can get a light loose leafed cabbage, or two, do. I bought a heavy, tight-leafed head and it made getting steamed leaves off a bit more of a struggle especially as I couldn’t core it totally. It still worked but if you can get an easier cabbage, do.
How many cabbage rolls you make depends upon you: how much meat you stuff into each leaf of cabbage and the size of cabbage(s) you buy.
The 2.5 pounds of meat plus the add-ins in this recipe and the cabbage leaves I retrieved from the 3.5 pound cabbage I purchased equaled 14 rolled up stuffed cabbage cigars with ¼ cup of the meat mixture in each. AND a dozen just meat meatballs.
This recipe as written easily makes 24-26 rolls if you buy two cabbages and scoop ¼ cups of meat filling into each or 14 rolls with scoops of ¼ cups of meat filling into each and 12 meatballs, if you do it this way.
But really, anything you do is correct. It’s stuffed cabbage, it’s meant to be homey, yummy and simple. So just go for it!
I bought all of my ingredients at Fairway Market in Manhattan. Fairway Market graciously sponsored the making of this Stuffed Cabbage. Thank you, Fairway Market! (*Here are my policies regarding my sponsored posts.*)
Stuffed Cabbage, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (or 2 medium sized yellow onions)
4 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes and their juice
1 T tomato paste (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar in the raw
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(Fresh lemons on standby for a squeeze of sour)
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
1 cup cooked rice
Make according to the directions on the rice container. Set aside and let cool once cooked.
1 large head Savoy or green cabbage, including outer leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the entire core of the cabbage with a paring knife. Make little slits around the base so the ribs come away from the core and the leaves peel off easily in the boiling water. Gently immerse the head of cabbage in the boiling water, peeling off each leaf with tongs as soon as it’s flexible. Set the leaves aside.
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 cup cooked white rice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the all ground chuck, eggs, onion, cooked rice, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the cooled sauce to the meat mixture and mix lightly with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To assemble: place a half cup of sauce to the bottom of your cooking dish. Remove the hard rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a small paring knife. Place ¼ cup of the filling on each cabbage leaf. Tuck the ends in and roll up like a big cigar. Place them, open side down, in a large 6-quart Dutch oven (or casserole dish). Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage. Cover the dish tightly with the lid (or foil if using a casserole dish) and bake at 350 degrees for one hour and a half, and then uncover for an additional half hour, adding water if too dry.
Taste for sweet and sour and, if needed, squeeze the juice of a fresh remaining lemon over all. Serve hot. And know this: this dish is even more delicious the second day.