I am going to have to admit to you, that I have never made cabbage rolls before. I have enjoyed them on more than one occasion, but I have never attempted to make them myself, till now.
When we were growing up, our Mom would make cabbage rolls a couple of times a year. It was a time consuming task, but we always enjoyed the effort, as there is nothing better than homemade cabbage rolls. Over the years, I have had the frozen variety, but they just don’t compare to homemade.
As I was looking through my latest cookbook purchase (Practical Paleo), I came across a recipe for cabbage rolls that I felt compelled to try. This recipe seemed to be a bit different for me, as it had a tomato cranberry sauce, instead of the traditional tomato sauce, but I am willing to try anything once 🙂
So, on our next trip to the grocery store, we picked up a Savoy cabbage and some fresh cranberries and I made the commitment to make homemade cabbage rolls.
I guess I have another confession to make here as well, up until this recipe; I have never made a homemade cranberry sauce! I know what you are wondering, how could any self-respecting food blogger rely on canned cranberries at holiday time? I don’t know why, I thought that it was really difficult to make homemade cranberry sauce, but that myth was quickly dispelled when I whipped up this cranberry sauce in a matter of minutes. Never again will canned cranberry sauce make an appearance on our holiday table!
Once the cranberries were done and cooling, I carefully peeled off cabbage leaves and steamed them until they were soft and a roll-able consistency. In cookbooks it looks so easy to take cabbage leaves off in one piece, but mine didn’t always turn out that way. I will admit, the smaller rolls were a combination of two or three pieces of cabbage leaves, layered together to hold in the ground beef.
After the cabbage had been steamed, I grated up the cauliflower and cooked it according to the recipe instructions and started to make my filling for the cabbage rolls. I was really excited to make these; I was in constant contact with my sister and brother-in-law during the cooking process, as I wanted to make them a bit jealous that Jamie and I were going to feast on homemade cabbage rolls for dinner. Isn’t that what family is for? 😉
So, I finally got to making the cabbage rolls. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. I carefully rolled the cabbage to cover the ground beef mixture. I thought it was going to be really difficult, but it actually wasn’t too bad. The only downside was the amount of dishes that it created, but since they had to bake in the oven for almost an hour, I had lots of time to clean up.
I really enjoyed the flavour of the tomatoes with the cranberry sauce. It is a delightful combination of sweet from the tomatoes and tart from the cranberries. One of the pluses of making my own cranberry sauce was I was able to control the sugar. I only added two tablespoons of honey to the cranberries, so their natural tartness came through.
Jamie and I enjoyed these for dinner (over a couple of days). I was pleased with how they turned out, and how relatively easy the process was. These will definitely be making another appearance on our dinner rotation.
Practical Paleo – Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Cranberry Sauce
Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC
- 1 15 oz package of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 head Savoy Cabbage
- 1 cup grated cauliflower
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1/2 onion – diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper – diced
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 32 oz can diced tomatoes
- Cranberry Sauce
- In a medium-sized sauce pan, simmer the cranberries with 1 cup water until all the berries have “popped” open and the texture is gelatinous. Add in the honey and remove from the heat.
- Set mixture aside and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Carefully remove the leaves from the head of cabbage and steam them until they are soft (about 5 minutes). Set the steamed leaves aside to cool.
- Sauté the grated cauliflower in a large skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until it is slightly softened. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cooked cauliflower, garlic, onion, jalapeño pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, chili powder and chili flakes. Add in salt and pepper and mix well.
- Fill the end of one leaf of the cabbage at a time with approximately 1/3 cup of the meat mixture. Roll the leaf by rolling the bottom up, followed by the sides, tucking the end underneath. Set rolled cabbage rolls on a plate and continue until all your mixture has been used up.
- Combine the can of diced tomatoes and the cranberry sauce. Cover the bottom of a deep oven-safe dish with a cup of the tomato cranberry sauce. Carefully lay your rolled cabbage rolls in the prepared dish, tucked side down.
- Pour the rest of the tomato cranberry sauce over the cabbage rolls.
- Cover dish with foil or lid and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes (or until the meat is cooked all the way through).
- Enjoy! Dinner is served!!