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Food on a table, with Cabbage

Ukrainian Holubtsi or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ukrainian Holubtsi or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a labor of love, and the epitome of an ultimate comfort food meal.
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Poland, Ukraine
Keyword: cabbage rolls, cast iron dutch, cook ground beef, cooked white rice, stuffed cabbage, ultimate comfort food
Servings: 12 servings, 2 rolls per serving
Calories: 321kcal

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Equipment

  • lidded roasting pan
  • large stock pot
  • Colander

Ingredients

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    Ingredients for Ukrainian Holubtsi or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

      One head of cabbage yields approximately 24 Holubtsi, sometimes more if the cabbage is very large, sometimes less if the leaves are too small to roll. Select a large, tight cabbage when purchasing.

      • 1 large green cabbage
      • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
      • 2 cups cooked rice
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 medium onion rough chopped
      • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into strips; alternatively, several to many small sweet gem peppers, any colors, cut into strips
      • 10 cherry tomatoes quartered
      • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
      • 2 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed tomato soup
      • 1 1 pound canned tomatoes
      • 1 bottle chili sauce I am using Heinz
      • 1 tablespoon basil dried
      • 4 bay leaves dried

      Instructions

      The Method

      • Cook rice according to package directs and set aside to cool completely once done.
      • Adjust oven rack to lower half of oven to allow for height of roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350°F.
      • Draw water into a large pot and set atop burner and bring to a boil. While water is heating, remove tough outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve. Core around the stem of the cabbage at enough of an angle to remove. Gently place cabbage into boiling water core side down. Add additional water to ensure cabbage is not touching bottom of pot.
        a cabbage being cored
      • Reduce heat just a little and boil cabbage for about 5 minutes or until outer leaves become soft. Using kitchen tongs, remove the outer 2 or 3 leaves in tact to a colander placed over a bowl to catch the water. Continue with remaining cabbage leaves one by one, allowing a minute or two between leaves for underlying leaves to soften. You want them to peel apart in one in-tact piece.
        A close up of a person holding a pan of food
      • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, cooled rice, chopped onion, eggs, and salt. Using your hands, work the mixture until combined.
        hands mixing rice and meat filling for Ukrainian Holubtsi
      • Position your cooked cabbage leaves alongside your bowl with the mixture in preparation for rolling/stuffing the dumplings. Before stuffing, prepare a large roasting pan by emptying one can of condensed tomato soup or a bit of the canned tomatoes in the bottom and spreading to coat. You do not need much.
        hands stuffing a cabbage leaf
      • Begin rolling/stuffing the cabbage leaves one at a time, by taking a loose handful of beef mixture and centering in a leaf. Fold side to side, and top to bottom. Mom's 'technique,' show here, are more along the lines of fat cigar-shaped bundles. As long as they are tightly packed, they will keep their shape during cooking. Place seam side down in the roasting pan and repeat until all of the meat mixture has been used.
      • Once all of the cabbage rolls are tucked tightly in the roasting pan, scatter the pepper strips and the cherry tomatoes. If there are remaining unstuffed cabbage leaves left, chop them finely and scatter atop as well. Pour the canned tomatoes, the remaining can of tomato soup, and the Heinz Chili Sauce atop the dumplings. Sprinkle with dried basil and add bay leaves. Dunk the reserved outer leaves detached from the cabbage at the beginning of the recipe into the still hot water used to soften the cabbage. This is simply to remove any grit from the surface of the leaves. Use the outer leaves as a 'blanket' and cover the dumplings completely. This is important so they both steam cook and also do not burn.
        roasting pan filled with stuffed cabbage leaves ready to be bakes
      • Place the lid on the roasting pan and bake at 350°F for 2 hours. When 2 hours is up, turn off the oven heat, crack the oven door, and leave the roasting pan in the oven, undisturbed, for an additional hour.
      • The Holubtsi are ready to be eaten as soon as they are done resting. Spoon the sauce over the Holubtsi and serve with plenty of bread for mopping up the sauce and juices.
        finishes baked stuffed cabbage roll on a plate

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1serving | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 514mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg

      Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.