Delicious Beef & Mushrooms Cabbage Rolls

Madalina - Get SavouryDinnerLeave a Comment

easy oven baked cabbage rolls recipe

A slight variation from the classic Romanian cabbage rolls recipe I grew up with (also known as “sarmale”), this recipe comes with a world of savoriness in just a small bite. The hero of the dish is fermented cabbage, which is processed by brining the cabbage in a salty liquid mixed with spices.

We then hand-roll them individually and stuff them with a delicious mixture of beef, mushrooms, herbs, rice, and other veggies. After that, we carefully bake the stuffed cabbage rolls for about 2 hours in a fresh tomato sauce, to allow all the delicious flavours to infuse and combine properly.

I always felt this was a dish that brings the family together. Growing up, I remember helping my grandma in the kitchen, and we would roll batches of 40-50 cabbage rolls in one go. It was probably one of my favourite kitchen activities as a kid.

A slight variation from the classic stuffed Romanian cabbage rolls recipe (sarmale) I grew up with, this recipe comes with a world of savoriness in just a small bite.

CategoryDinnerDifficultyIntermediateAuthorMadalina - Get Savoury

Yields6 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time2 hrsTotal Time2 hrs 30 mins

 30 fermented cabbage leaves
 ½ cup rice
 1 lb ground beef
 2 cups mushrooms (wild mushrooms or champignon), finely diced
 1 small onion, finely diced
 1 small carrot, finely diced
 4 garlic cloves, minced
 1 scallion, finely diced
 2 cups tomato puree
 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
 3 medium tomatoes, skinless, diced
 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 1 pinch smoked paprika
 1 tbsp bread crumbs
 ½ tsp salt
 ½ tsp pepper

Instructions:

1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim off the thick stems and make sure each piece is about the size of a palm. If you're using small leaves, you'll need about 30 pieces. If you have bigger leaves, 15-20 pieces are enough. Immerse the leaves (3-5 at a time) in the boiling water and allow them to boil for about 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2

In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your chopped veggies in this order: onions, scallions and 2 cloves of garlic, carrots and finally mushrooms. Sauté on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes.

3

Add rice and keep cooking for an additional 5 minutes, until the rice becomes glossy. When done, set aside to cool.

4

In the meantime, in a saucepan, combine tomato puree, finely diced tomatoes (skinless), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh thyme, smoked paprika, 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, you can add 1/2 cup of warm vegetable broth or water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes then set aside.

5

When the rice mixture is cool enough, add ground beef, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly.

6

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7

Assemble the cabbage rolls and place them seam side down into the dishpan. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the cabbage rolls and shake the pan a few times to spread the tomato sauce evenly.

8

Cover the dishpan with a lid or foil and bake for about 2 hours until the cabbage becomes nice and tender and all the flavours are perfectly combined.

Ingredients

 30 fermented cabbage leaves
 ½ cup rice
 1 lb ground beef
 2 cups mushrooms (wild mushrooms or champignon), finely diced
 1 small onion, finely diced
 1 small carrot, finely diced
 4 garlic cloves, minced
 1 scallion, finely diced
 2 cups tomato puree
 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
 3 medium tomatoes, skinless, diced
 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 1 pinch smoked paprika
 1 tbsp bread crumbs
 ½ tsp salt
 ½ tsp pepper

Directions

1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim off the thick stems and make sure each piece is about the size of a palm. If you're using small leaves, you'll need about 30 pieces. If you have bigger leaves, 15-20 pieces are enough. Immerse the leaves (3-5 at a time) in the boiling water and allow them to boil for about 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2

In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your chopped veggies in this order: onions, scallions and 2 cloves of garlic, carrots and finally mushrooms. Sauté on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes.

3

Add rice and keep cooking for an additional 5 minutes, until the rice becomes glossy. When done, set aside to cool.

4

In the meantime, in a saucepan, combine tomato puree, finely diced tomatoes (skinless), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh thyme, smoked paprika, 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, you can add 1/2 cup of warm vegetable broth or water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes then set aside.

5

When the rice mixture is cool enough, add ground beef, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly.

6

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7

Assemble the cabbage rolls and place them seam side down into the dishpan. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the cabbage rolls and shake the pan a few times to spread the tomato sauce evenly.

8

Cover the dishpan with a lid or foil and bake for about 2 hours until the cabbage becomes nice and tender and all the flavours are perfectly combined.

Delicious Beef & Mushrooms Cabbage Rolls

Tips for the best cabbage rolls:

  • How to stuff cabbage leaves: divide the stuffing into meatball- shaped pieces and place each piece in the center of the cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf once around the meatball, from the bottom up, then fold in the edges to secure the stuffing, and finish rolling. Place them seam side down into the dishpan to make sure they won’t burst.
  • How to soften cabbage leaves: a quick search on Google, and you’ll find an abundance of tricks and tips on how to get them perfectly soft. One of them happens to involve a microwave. While this is a perfectly valid alternative that helps reduce cooking time, the texture of the cabbage will likely change, as well as the taste. What works for me is quickly boiling the leaves in small batches for a couple of minutes.
  • Freezing cabbage for tender cabbage rolls: freezing will indeed help tenderize the cabbage, thus giving it a more pleasant texture. However, the cabbage will lose some of the taste in the process.
  • Always use homemade tomato sauce and fresh herbs for a more authentic taste.
  • Use bacon instead of smoked paprika for a deeper flavour.

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