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Playing Just in Time for Winter, Rach Makes a Spectacular Stuffed Cabbage

"If you're a person who digs stuffed cabbage, it's that time of year!" says Rach. "This recipe is adapted from a book from the year I was born, 1968. The book was written in Italian, but I did my best to translate it!" The cabbage is kept whole and the leaves are stuffed with a combo of ground beef, pork and veal, parboiled rice and seasonings, then wrapped in cheesecloth and baked in a flavored broth. The result is pretty spectacular—and delicious! Try pairing it with John's Lambrusco Negroni.  

For more stuffed cabbage recipes from Rach, check out her Cast-Iron Skillet Roast Stuffed Cabbage and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients

To Prepare the Cabbage for Stuffing:
  • Salt
  • 1 medium Savoy cabbage
For the Stuffing:
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef, pork and veal, combined
  • 8 leaves of sage, thinly slice or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice, rinsed and par-cooked 5 minutes in boiling water, then strained
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
To Stuff the Cabbage:
  • 1 large piece of cheesecloth, large enough to wrap the whole cabbage
  • Kitchen twine
To Cook the Stuffed Cabbage:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced on bias
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on bias
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups broth or bone stock (beef)

Yield

Serves: 4 to 6

Preparation

To prepare the cabbage for stuffing, fill a large pot with water (the pot needs to be big enough to accommodate the entire head of cabbage). Bring water to a boil and liberally salt it. Meanwhile, pull off the very large outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Using a paring knife, remove as much of the core of the cabbage as possible (really dig it out while still maintaining the whole cabbage shape). Carefully place the cabbage in the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Dry and cool the cabbage on kitchen towels. (While you are waiting for the cabbage to cool, you can prepare the stuffing). Once the cabbage is cool, working with the core-side up, separate leaves as much as possible while maintaining the cabbage's shape. You are making spaces to hold the stuffing in between the leaves.    

For the stuffing, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, and melt butter into oil. Add onions, parsley, salt and pepper and stir 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir, then add the ground meats, more salt and pepper and the sage, rosemary and nutmeg. Remove from heat. Place meat in a bowl and cool. Add the par-cooked rice to the meat and combine with egg and Worcestershire.   

To stuff the cabbage, with the core side up, place some filling between the separated leaves, pushing it as far down as you can and in as many spaces as you were able to create. Do this until you have used all the stuffing. Lay the cheesecloth in a single layer on your work surface. Gather up the stuffed cabbage and transfer to the cheesecloth core-side down. Wrap the cheesecloth up and around the cabbage, then gather the 4 corners at the top of the cabbage and twist to create a tight cabbage package. Tie the twisted cheesecloth tightly with kitchen twine. Set aside and prepare the cabbage cooking base.  

Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack at center.  

To cook the stuffed cabbage, melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay, salt and pepper and sweat a few minutes, partially covered.

5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Rachael Ray
$100

Add stock, then place the cabbage in center of pot, cover and bake 2 hours.  

Remove the cheesecloth and string from the cabbage, place on platter and cut wedges to serve.