And today we have the final installment in this week's Cook the Book series. It's a recipe for Stuffed Cabbag from Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking. Stuffed cabbage is easily one of my favorite comfort foods, and though I typically go for a mushroom-onion-and-rice mix, the sweet-and-sour meat-stuffed cabbage here is irresistible.
- 1 extra-large head green cabbage (4 to 5 pounds)
- 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon sour salt, or the juice of 2 medium lemons
- 1/3 cup dark raisins
- 6 gingersnaps, crumbled and soaked in 1/2 cup water (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons peanut, corn, or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can imported Italian tomato purée
Prepare meatball mixture as directed in meatball recipe, but don't form into meatballs; set aside.
Prepare the cabbage: Have ready a pot large enough to hold the whole head of cabbage almost submerged in water. Fill the pot halfway with water; bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Meanwhile, core cabbage with a small sharp knife. Submerge cabbage head in boiling water for a few seconds. Spear cabbage with a two-tined chef's fork, lift it out of water, peel off outside leaf. Return cabbage head to water for another few seconds, remove the next loose leaf. Continue this process until leaves become too small to easily stuff. You should have 12 to 15 leaves big enough to use.
Remove pot from heat. Shred remaining cabbage; layer pieces on bottom of a wide, deep casserole. Cut out and discard the white central rib of each cabbage leaf.
Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup (depending on the size of the cabbage leaf) of meat mixture for each leaf. Place the meat along the edge of the leaf opposite the core end, shaping it into a thick, oblong patty. Roll up meat in leaf, tucking in leaf sides as you roll to completely enclose the filling. If you have a little extra leaf, trim it off. Place the stuffed leaves, seam side down, on top of the shredded cabbage.
To make the sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion until tender and golden, about 12 minutes. Add the tomato purée, sugar, sour salt, raisins, gingersnaps, and salt. Stir well and, still on medium heat, uncovered, bring to a simmer. If using gingersnaps, simmer until they are dissolved. Otherwise, simmer for just 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls. Shake casserole to encourage sauce to seep to bottom. Cover with pot lid or tightly with aluminum foil; bake 2 hours. Serve hot.
Notes: Stuffed cabbage reheats beautifully. Reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.