This might need some explaining, and you’ve got to be a cabbage-lover! For some reason over the weekend I was reminiscing about eating stuffed cabbage that my grandmother would make. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve had it. I’ve never tried to make stuffed cabbage myself before, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I scoured some Paleo versions of stuffed cabbage recipes and thought about how to make that sweet/sour/tangy note in the sauce come alive. It is not perfect, but it was quite tasty. I used ground bison, which is definitely unconventional. (Obviously buffalo never roamed Eastern Europe!) But, you can’t go wrong with a good quality free range meat. I will have to make it again soon.
This is my rendition:
1 head of cabbage
1 pound ground meat (I used bison but ground pork or lamb is more traditional)
¼ cup minced onion
1 tablespoon paprika (I just used grocery store paprika but a smoky one would be heavenly)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper
1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Fill a pot with a couple inches of water and set the steamer insert into it. Put the whole head of cabbage into it, cover, and bring to a boil. Steam for about 15 minutes. (If you don’t have a steamer basket setup, you could just boil the cabbage.) When tender and bright green, put the cabbage in an ice bath until cool enough to handle.
While the cabbage is cooking, mix the ingredients for the meat in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes and spices.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread a little sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Carefully pull 8 cabbage leaves off of the head. Scoring a square around the core makes this easier. Hold one leaf in your hand and spoon in 1/8 of the meat mixture. Fold the thicker end over the meat first, fold the sides in over the meat, and the roll to close the bundle. Repeat until you’ve made 8 rolls. Place the rolls in the pan. Pour the sauce over the top. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.