Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Tick off the ingredients as you buy them
For Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:
1. Wash the cabbage under running water. Remove the tough outer leaves and discard them. Separate the inner leaves and wash them under running water.
2. Cut out the stalk from the head.
3. Grab a large cooking pot, large enough for the whole cabbage head to fit. Pour water in and bring it to boil. Add a solid pinch of salt and sugar and stir.
4. Blanch the cabbage head in the boiling water, core side down. After a few minutes (2-3), the leaves should peel off easily. If not - cook it for a few more minutes.
5. Remove cabbage to a baking tray, but keep the water in the pot.
6. (Optional) To keep a more vibrant colour, you can place the leaves into ice water - that will slow down the cooking process.
7. Set ten best leaves (largest, unbroken) aside. Using a paring knife, cut the main ‘vein’ out from each cabbage leaf and trim from the bottom with a knife.
8. Peel an onion and dice it finely. Finely chop the garlic with a knife.
9. Heat up a tablespoon or two of oil, add in chopped onion. When it turns golden, add chopped garlic and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
10. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, cooked rice, a tablespoon marjoram, and cooled down onion/garlic.
11. Season with salt and pepper, mix thoroughly - no special tools are necessary, you can use your hands. This mass will be our stuffing.
12. Lay the cabbage leaf flat. Place about ¼-⅓ cup of meat mixture in the centre of a cabbage leaf. Gather the edges of the cabbage inwards and roll it tightly. Continue until you have 10 decent-sized rolls.
13. Line the bottom of the large cooking pot with some of the remaining pre-cooked leaves - this prevents the dish from burning.
14. Place the cabbage rolls in the pot, in layers, one on top of another. Cover with a layer of remaining leaves.
15. Pour the stock in. Cook on a medium heat, covered for about 40-50 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Not every cabbage is the same, you’ll have to check how soft it is as you go.
16. When the cabbage rolls are nearly done, let’s make the tomato sauce.
For Tomato Sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. When melted, add in the flour. Whisk together and cook for a bit until it gains some colour.
2. Pour in around a cup (250 ml) of the stock that got made from cooking the cabbage rolls. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.
3. Pour in 2 cups of tomato passata and add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring to a boil yet again, then reduce the heat to a minimum.
4. Season with salt and ground pepper. If the tomatoes are too acidic, add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavours.
5. Continue cooking until you reach a desired thickness.
1. Serve cooked cabbage rolls, with tomato sauce on top or on the side.
2. Garnish with some freshly chopped dill or parsley leaves.