I have tried a couple different ways to prepare cabbage for making cabbage rolls.
There is the old fashioned way of blanching it in a giant pot of boiling water. Not much fun, often dangerous and takes way too long.
Another method is to simply freeze your head of cabbage and then when you thaw it out the leaves are limp and pliable. Doesn’t work for me on many levels but mostly because I do things on the spur of the moment and I don’t want to wait for the cabbage to thaw.
Here is the best method I have found. Put your head of cabbage, with the core cut out as best you can, into a large dish with a 1/2 cup of water and cover this with plastic wrap. Microwave this for 10 minutes with the core end down then turn it over and microwave it another 10 minutes. Bingo it is done with little mess and less chance of burning yourself with that hot water. Just take it out and gently work it apart on a large, clean (as if you would use a dirty one) dish towel. You may need to trim a little more of the core to get them all off.
Save any torn pieces and those that are too small. We will use them later.
I use Savoy cabbage. It cooks up tender and is also a little like crepe paper when you are forming the rolls so it stretches around the meat filling beautifully.
Okay lets go:
1 head of Savoy cabbage
1 lb. of extra lean ground beef
1 lb. of ground pork
1 cup of rice
6 small tins of tomato soup (since my store is too dumb to carry the giant size tins of it)
1 tin of good quality crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of regular or hot paprika
2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
Start by cooking the cabbage in the microwave.
Cook the rice according to package instructions
Mix together the soup,tomatoes and the Worcestershire sauce and set aside.
Mix the ground beef and the ground pork together with the cooked rice, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika
Spoon a little of the tomato sauce over the bottom of your pan.
Take about a 1/4 cup of the meat mixture and place it at the base of a cabbage leaf. Roll it over a full turn then fold in the sides. Continue to roll it up and place it in the baking pan with the seam side down.
They are cozy and they are happy! Now let’s cover them up with that yummy tomato sauce. Put your pan on a baking tray just in case it bubbles over.
Cover the top with all the leftover and torn up bits to protect the cabbage rolls and sauce from burning. Now cover the whole lot with tin foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. Check one in the middle for doneness using a meat thermometer.