This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart via the Internet. Some courtesy! I tried it and it needed a lot of help as it was way too bland. Beyond that, the recipe did not include the celery in the sautéing of the raw vegetables. Also, the 2 tbsp. of "unsalted" butter in a recipe that uses coarse salt is a joke. Four tbsp. of regular butter is better by far. The "garlic" ingredient is not specified as a clove or a complete head of garlic. I used half a head and more would have been welcome. The cooking pot required more liquid so in the future I will use three cups of reserved cabbage water, not two as stated in the Internet recipe. The tomato flavor was weak so I needed to address that. Hmmm … as is so often the case, recipes from TV or the Internet can have major flaws, regardless of whose name is attached to the recipe.
I decided to add a can of tomato paste and a tsp. of oregano and 2 tsp. of basil, then simmer the liquid to concentrate it some and then re-coat the already cooked cabbage rolls. Ahh … they came out just fine. Whew!
2 quarts of water
1 large green cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of cooked rice
8 ounces of ground beef
8 ounces of ground pork
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
1 medium green pepper, grated
2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
4 cups of tomato puree (we used tomato sauce)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup of sour cream, plus more for garnish
Plus my additions and recommendations:
Increase garlic to one head
1 tsp. of dried oregano
2 tsp. of dried basil
1, 6 oz. can of tomato paste
Increase reserved cabbage water from 2 cups to 3 cups
Using a paring knife, remove the center core of the cabbage.
In a large non-stick stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the cabbage and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the outer leaves are bright green and tender.
Lift the cabbage from the water with a large skimming utensil, and remove the outer leaves.
Return the cabbage to the boiling water, and repeat the brief cooking and removal of leaves until all of the leaves are partially cooked and removed.
Reserve 3 cups of the cabbage cooking water.
Trim the thick center vein from the bottom of each cabbage leaf and discard it.
Reserve the four largest outer leaves to line the bottom of a Dutch Oven.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and the celery, and cook until golden and tender, about 8 minutes. (I cover the skillet with a glass lid for part of the sauté process to speed it along and not burn the onions or the garlic, so I only need five minutes, not eight) Golden? NO.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, rice, beef, pork, salt, pepper, parsley flakes and green pepper. Add the oregano and the basil. Stir to combine the ingredients and create the filling.
Add about 1/3 cup of the filling to one cabbage leaf. Fold the sides of the cabbage leaf over the filling, and, starting with the stem end, roll the cabbage up. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
Line a 5-quart Dutch oven with the reserved outside cabbage leaves. Transfer the stuffed cabbage rolls to the Dutch oven.
In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce, the tomato paste and the reserved 3 cups of cabbage cooking water and mix them. Pour some of the resulting tomato sauce over the cabbage to almost cover it. Sprinkle the apple pieces over the top of the cabbage leaves. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer; cover.
Cook for 1 hour or more until the cabbage is very tender, adding additional tomato sauce as needed.
I skip the following step and simply serve sour cream with the cabbage rolls:
Place the sour cream in a small bowl, and ladle in about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce from the cooked stuffed cabbage rolls. Whisk to combine. Add the sour cream mixture to the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Serve the stuffed cabbage rolls with additional sour cream.