Nanny’s Sunday Stuffed Cabbage
Read the entire recipe before starting to ensure that you have all of the ingredients and that you are ready to assemble when the cabbage is ready.
The recipe calls for “sweet” paprika, but no worries if it doesn’t say “sweet” on your jar. I just wouldn’t recommend using smoked paprika.
You can adjust the seasonings (and amounts) to your liking. It may change the flavor profile slightly.
You can reduce the amount of brown sugar in the sauce if you don’t want as much sweetness.
Recently, I was reminiscing with my sister, Deanie, about some of the dishes that our grandmother, Nanny, would make for us when the three of us (Deanie, Kim and I) visited every summer as girls. One of those recipes is her Stuffed Cabbage which included similar ingredients as her meatloaf. During the 60s and 70s, she didn’t have all of the fancy herbs and spices that we use today; it wasn’t a thing. And although I have since updated her Stuffed Cabbage recipe — adding pork and veal to the ground beef, other spices, sautéing the onions and making a homemade sauce — her version still stands the test of time for ease and great taste. So, in honor of my Nanny, here is the original version that I learned to cook from her.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees…
For the Cabbage:
Place the head of green cabbage in boiling water until the leaves peel off one-by-one. This will only take a few minutes. Use tongs to remove leaves as they come off in the water. You will need approximately 10 leaves, depending on how big your cabbage is and how much filling you use per leaf. Drain leaves in a colander and let cool just enough to handle. Remove some of the thick stem (rib) from the base of each cabbage leaf.
For the Sauce:
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
¼ c brown sugar
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
Mix all sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside to use throughout recipe.
For the filling:
1 lb ground beef
½ to 1 c cooked instant rice (or any white rice)
½ large yellow onion (or 1 small medium onion), chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
½ c tomato sauce mixture (from recipe above)
½ c plain dried breadcrumbs
Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Mix lightly with a fork. Do not over-mix the meat.
Spread ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Put the cabbage leaves on a work surface and pat dry. Place about 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in the bottom center of each leaf. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the beef mixture, folding in the sides as you go. Place in baking dish seam side down. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rolls.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.