Makes 12 medium rolls.
Stuffed vegetable dishes are traditionally served on Sukkot all around the globe. In Eastern Europe it was cabbage, in other parts of the world it could be zucchini, peppers, grape leaves. It is the ultimate comfort food, slightly sweet and slightly sour. I make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls quite frequently, not just for the holiday. They freeze well, but it’s best to defrost them in the refrigerator.
I grant you that it is a bit time consuming to make but you can do it in stages. I prepare the cabbage a few days before, I pat dry the leaves and leave them wrapped in a dish towel in the refrigerator. They are ready to be stuffed and the rest goes quickly.
1 large cabbage, about 3 pounds each
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1pound ground meat, a blend of half veal and half beef, ground together
1/3 cup raw -white rice
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
½ cup tightly packed flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Granny Smith apple
¼ cup golden raisins
3 ounces dried apricots, quartered
One 26.46 ounce can chopped tomatoes –POMI brand (See Note)
1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
TO PREPARE CABBAGE LEAVES:
Remove and discard bruised and discolored leaves. With a pointed knife, cut out some of the hard center core.
In a large pot of boiling water add 2 tablespoons salt and boil the cabbage for about 5 minutes. Turn cabbage as it cooks. Lift out by piercing core with a large fork, then refresh with cold water to make it easier to handle.
To peel off the leaves without damaging them, first cut them at the core, then remove. When leaves are wilted they are easy to remove. If not wilted, they will tear.Y ou may need to return the cabbage to the boiling water and repeat in the same fashion. The center cabbage leaves will be too small for stuffing, so shred them and save for the topping.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
Quarter the onion and the garlic and chop finely in the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until lightly golden.
Place the meat in a large bowl and add half of the onion (the rest will go into the sauce) the rice, tomato paste and parsley. Mix with your hands in one direction to combine very well.
Season with salt and pepper.
TO FILL THE CABBAGE LEAVES :
Spread each cabbage leaf on a cutting board and cut out some of the center rib.
Place 2 tablespoons of the filling closer to the top. Roll half way, fold the sides toward the center and roll tightly to the end.
Place the rolls very close to each other, seam side down in a heavy, large saucepan (3 quarts).
Preheat the oven to 350 F
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
Peel, quarter and seed the apple. Chop coarsely in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Empty into a bowl. Peel, trim, and quarter carrots and do the same. Add the remaining sautéed onion, tomatoes, raisins, apricots and water.
Pour the sauce over the rolls. Shred the leftover cabbage and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Place in the oven for 1 hour.
Reduce the heat to 325F and cook for another ½ hour.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the consistency by adding more water.
I use POMI brand of chopped tomatoes. They come in cartons and leftovers can be frozen.