PREPARE THE CABBAGE LEAVESFill a large stockpot two-thirds full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.Using a paring knife, remove the cabbage’s core. Using large, sturdy tongs, carefully lower the cabbage into the pot, core side down and blanch. As the leaves loosen from the cabbage head, carefully remove them to a plate. Repeat until you have 12-14 large leaves.
When you have removed all the cabbage leaves you want for rolling, return the individual leaves to the boiling water for one minute, until they are tender and flexible. Set aside.Pull or rough-chop any remaining cabbage leaves from head. You will use these to line the slow cooker.
OPTIONAL - I like to use a paring knife to thin the stem end just a bit before I assemble the cabbage rolls. It makes rolling them a little easier, and the rolls turn out more uniform. You only need to do this step for leaves that you plan to use to make the rolls. You do not need to thin the stems of the leaves you use to line the slow cooker.
SAUCE - Whisk together all the sauce ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Set aside. If you enjoy a lot of sauce with your cabbage rolls, you may want to double the sauce amounts.
MEAT MIX -In a medium bowl, mix ground meat, rice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, oregano, chopped onion, and egg until thoroughly combine.
FORM THE CABBAGE ROLLS Basically, cabbage rolls are rolled exactly like a burrito.
A - Place 1/4-1/3 cup filling on the stem end of a single cabbage leaf. B - Roll the stem end up over the filling. C - Fold both sides into the middle. D - Complete rolling with the final flap end resting down.
Line the bottom of the slow cooker with leftover cabbage leaves. Place the prepared cabbage rolls on top of the loose cabbage leaves. Stack them in two layers. Do not crowd. Rolls will expand as the rice cooks inside them. Use any remaining cabbage leaves or chopped cabbage to fill in any spaces around rolls.
Pour the prepared sauce evenly over the rolls in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours; until the internal temperature reaches 160°F | 71°C.
For this recipe, you can use ground beef, ground turkey, or a 50/50 combination of beef/turkey, beef/pork, or turkey/pork.
Use meat that is 80 - 92% lean. [85 - 87% lean is optimal.]
DO NOT use ground chicken for this recipe: it too lean.
1/4 teaspoon = Very Mild [Barely noticeable]
1/2 teaspoon = Mild to Medium [A little spicy, but not hot.]
1 teaspoon or more = Nicely Spicy [Don't get carried away: you don't want to cover up the other, more subtle flavors.]
1/4 cup = Slightly sweet
1/3 cup = Medium sweet
1/2 cup = Quite Sweet
DO NOT omit the sugar entirely; you need to use enough to offset the tomato sauce's acidity. Calorie Calculations based on using 85% lean ground beef.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.