This recipe comes from my great great grandmother Julia (Juliska) Szilagyi who was born in Hungary in 1898 and moved to the United States in 1906. She then passed it on to her daughter, my great grandmother Rose (nagymama or Nudge Mumma as we called her) who passed it to my grandmother Joyce (Nanny) who in turn passed it to my mother and then to me. I remember my mother making this for dinner when I was a kid and I hated the cabbage so I would pull it off and eat the delicious meat inside. As I grew older I came to love the cabbage,the sauerkraut and tomatoes that topped this delicious treat that was passed down though my mother's side of the family! We always add salt to this dish before we eat it which makes the flavors pop out even more! The work involved to make this dish is well worth it! Enjoy!
Remove core from head of cabbage. Place in a large dutch oven or stockpot and cover cabbage head with water. Bring to a boil; boil until outer leaves loosen from head. Pull off loose cabbage leaves (should be soft and tender) and set aside on plate into large to small piles (cabbage leaves on the outside are bigger than ones closest to the inside which are small). Repeat until all leaves are removed. Remove tough center stalk from each leaf. For leaves that are too small to be used, do not discard, rather chop them and set aside in a bowl.
In a large bowl mix together ground beef, beaten egg and uncooked rice with hands until combined thoroughly.
In a large dutch oven or stockpot, line the bottom with chopped cabbage.
Beginning with the largest cabbage leaves, lay flat and fill leaf with meat mixture and roll up tucking in sides. Inside the pot, place the larger stuffed cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage. When you have completed one layer, top with some diced tomatoes and sauerkraut remembering to reserve some for more layers.
After completing the next layer of cabbage rolls, top with more diced tomatoes and sauerkraut and repeat until you have placed all cabbage rolls into the pot. ***Always put the biggest cabbage rolls on the bottom, the medium ones in the middle and the smallest ones on top***
Top with remaining tomatoes, sauerkraut and chopped cabbage.
Any cabbage leaves that remain after you have used all the meat mixture, chop them up and use them for topping along with tomatoes and sauerkraut.
Fill the pot 3/4 of the way with water and the tomato juice from the can of tomatoes and cover. Turn on stove burner to medium high heat until water comes to a boil then reduce to low heat and cook for 1-2 hours until the meat inside the stuffed cabbage is no longer pink and the rice is soft and fluffy. ***You may have to add more water as it cooks, just be sure to consistently make sure the pot is filled 3/4 with water.***
Serve hot topped with tomatoes, sauerkraut and chopped cabbage for a beautiful presentation, authenticity, and for an array of flavors! Sprinkle with your desired amount of salt and enjoy!