Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

mom's cabbage rolls a different way

(4 ratings)
Recipe by
Dee Stillwell
Citrus Heights, CA

These cabbage rolls are made differently with no tomatoes. My Mom had a few specialty dishes and this was one of them. She learned how to make cabbage rolls from her sweet Hungarian sister-in-law. They were made with a sweet & sour sauce. My Pop didn't like that sauce or tomato sauce on them. She created her own recipe to please him and it was always his favorite dish she made for 53 yrs. This dish now lives on thru me. For me, they are the ultimate comfort food and I know you will love them. My son & grandson don't like cabbage so I make some for them sans meatballs and gravy.

(4 ratings)
yield 8 serving(s)
prep time 35 Min
cook time 1 Hr 20 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For mom's cabbage rolls a different way

  • 1 lg
    head cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 2 c
    long grained rice
  • 1 tsp
  • 4 c
  • 3 lb
    ground beef (can swap 1 pound for ground turkey)
  • 4 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 1 lg
    onion, (chopped fine in food processor with garlic)
  • 1 1/4 tsp
    seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp
    freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp
    freshly grated nutmeg (I use 1/2 a fresh nutmeg)
  • 1/2 - 1 c
  • 2 c
    cooked cooled rice (from the rice above)
  • 1 c
    flour for dredging rolls, divided use
  • 2 Tbsp
    butter (start with 2 & add more as needed for browning)
  • 2 Tbsp
    vegetable oil (start with 2 & add more as needed for browning)
  • 4 c
    beef broth (mom used 4 boullion cubes to 4 cups water)
  • 1/2 tsp
    white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp
    freshly grated nutmeg (1/2 a fresh nut)
  • 2 Tbsp
    brown sugar

How To Make mom's cabbage rolls a different way

  • 1
    Core and remove outside leaves of cabbage. Place core side down in 1 1/2 inches of water in a Pyrex bowl covered with plastic wrap. Steam in the microwave until outer leaves are semi-soft and peel them off a few at a time until all are done. (about 10 minutes)
  • 2
    Heat 4qt saucepan (with tight fitting lid) over med heat. Add butter and rice. Stir and cook until rice starts getting white specks on it. Add salt & water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (35 min for brown rice). Fluff with a fork and set aside. Remove 2 cups (more is fine if you are needing to stretch the meat further) Set rice aside to cool while making filling. Reserve remaining rice to serve under cabbage rolls.
  • Cabbage rolls browning.
    Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onions, garlic and seasonings. Stir in milk and mix until the meat is loosened up. Lastly, add 2 cups of the cooled cooked rice ( Can add more rice if you need to stretch the beef further) Mix well and stuff cabbage leaves. Trim off hard core parts and starting at the widest end place a few tablespoons of filling. Roll up but don't fold ends in (burrito style). Push the ends of the cabbage into the ends of the roll to make a belly button. This works great to hold them together when browning. It eliminates the need for toothpicks. Mom always used them and I almost swallowed one several times. I learned the belly button trick from my Hungarian aunt who first taught Mom how to make them. : )
  • 4
    When all done making rolls, heat butter & oil in large heavy skillet over med/high heat. Dredge each roll in flour and pan fry until browned on all sides. Remove to large lasagna baking pan or 2 smaller pans. When rolls are all browned, heat a little more oil or butter in the same skillet if necessary to make a roux. Bacon fat is always a plus. ;) Scrape up browned bits. Add abt 2 tablespoons of leftover dredging flour and cook & stir for 1 minute. Whisk in beef broth until it becomes a thin/med gravy. Add white pepper and nutmeg. I usually almost double this gravy recipe. You seem to need more when you use 2 pans, but this recipe makes alot of rolls, plus I make a sm pan of them with no cabbage for my son & grandson who are anti cabbage. Next, pour gravy over cabbage rolls and sprinkle brown sugar over top. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and then heavy duty foil and bake for 1 1/4 hours. Carefully vent and let cool for abt 10 minutes so mouths don't get burned. Serve over remaining cooked rice. Enjoy!!