Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There have been many times over the past two and a half years since my mother passed away when I've regretted not having asked her to write down some of her recipes.. I have a very small number of recipes that she did write down, but have to rely on memory for so many more. Stuffed cabbage isn't a dish she made often--probably because it wasn't a family favorite back in the day. I find that with age a great many foods that I wouldn't eat "back in the day" are now comfort foods, in no small part, I'm guessing, because of the nostalgia factor. I decided to give stuffed cabbage another try despite some not-so-stellar attempts in the past.

1 large Savoy cabbage
2 lbs 93% lean ground beef
1 1/2 large Spanish onions, diced
2 tbs butter
3 eggs
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package instructions
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans tomato soup
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup bloody Mary mix

Part of my difficulty in the past was that I tried to boil the cabbage. This time, on the advice of a few friends, I cored the cabbage, then placed it in a bowl filled a third of the way with water and microwaved it on high for 10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and cool until it can be handled. The leaves should come apart at a touch. Place on paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter and saute the chopped onions very slowly until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Prepare the rice according to package instructions, then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the onions, rice ground meat, eggs, salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine thoroughly.

Look over the cabbage leaves and use kitchen shears to carefully cut away any large, tough veins.

Spray a large casserole dish (or two) with nonstick spray.

Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the meat mixture at the bottom of a cabbage leaf and roll up, tucking the sides in. Place seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat until all meat is used up.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the tomato soup, chicken broth, and bloody Mary mix (or tomato juice, V-8, Clamato). Pour evenly over the cabbage rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove foil and serve or let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.
Finally! I could tell as these were cooking that they were going to be the closest to the ones I remember my mother making. I believe the difference was the use of tomato soup instead of tomato sauce (she may have mixed the two, but I prefer the taste of all soup). The rolls were very easy to make because the core had been removed from the cabbage and the microwave produced perfectly pliable leaves. The brown rice added some fiber and the onion, salt, and pepper was all the seasoning needed. The bloody Mary mix, which I used because we had no tomato juice, added just a little kick. I'm sure these could be frozen if we weren't planning to give some away and eat the leftovers tomorrow. Please take the opportunity if your parents and grandparents are still with you to preserve your food history by writing out their recipes for family favorites.


  1. I'm glad to hear that this recipe reminds you of the ones your Mom prepared. That has to be a good feeling! I've tried over the years to pinpoint my Mom's recipes, but she almost never makes anything the same way twice(sigh). I'll keep working on her and maybe one day I'll be able to set her straight. My Mom made a lot of cabbage rolls when I was younger and I never appreciated them until I was grown. Nowadays I LOVE them but have never made them. I like that you used the v8 in place of the soup. A little more flavor is never a bad thing!

  2. I love stuffed cabbage! Your recipe sounds very unique, Arlene.

    My Mom does not like to cook and her meals were always very simple. My mother-n-law never had written recipes, but luckily she liked to have me watch her cook and I would take notes. I was fortunate that she taught me quite a bit before she passed away. When my son got married I made a "family favorites" cookbook for his fiance, and also had her Mom contribute ecipes form her family. The cookbook was the hit of the wedding shower!

  3. Mmm..stuffed cabbage, delicious! I too like all tomato soup.
    I have some of my Mom's recipes written down but wish I had a lot more. I agree, do it while your parents are still alive, write down all the details of what they remember, you'll be glad later.
    Thanks for visiting our blog.


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