Originally Posted by Koukouvagia
So you do it whole then? Do you cut part of the core out?
Yes, I blanch it whole and you're right, I do cut part of the core out, you know, that tough root. The leaves come off easily whole (except for a few that might get torn). You then need to cut off the thick central stem of each leaf as this way it will be much easier to roll them tightly. There's no need to tie them or anything, just roll tightly and stack them next to one another. You can do one to three layers this way and either simmer on the stove or bake in the oven. I prefer the latter, especially if I use my clay baker and then I go for 3-5 hours, nice and slow. And if I wait for the next day to eat, it's the ultimate comfort food.
My favourite way so far is this:
STUFFING: 1 lbs. minced meat (I prefer pork), two to three onions, two cloves of garlic, rice (soaked in hot water for 5 minutes), good-quality sweet paprika (at least 1 tbsp. or to taste), one bread roll or kaiser bun, milk, lard. Cut up and soak the bun in warm milk until it's totally soggy. Fry the onions, chopped, in lard until they start to get golden brown, add chopped garlic and let it cook a bit more, add the paprika, stir and off the heat with it. Now mix the fried onions with the meat and the soaked bun and add some rice (I can't tell you how much, but don't add to much - less is more here). You may also mix in a few chopped tomatoes (or even fry them with the onions) and also perhaps some chopped parsley and/or dill. Season well with salt and pepper.
THE REST OF IT: You'll need now some tomatoes, some green or yellow sweet and hot peppers and some nice bacon. Dice and fry the bacon, slice the vegetables. Put a layer of tomatoes and peppers at the bottom of your casserole, some bacon and a few knobs of lard (it's best to buy some fatback from your butcher, dice it and render your own - and you get cracklings too). Place the first layer of cabbage rolls. Now the second layer of vegetables and the rest of the bacon, then one more layer of cabbage rolls. Finally, you may cover this with all those torn and small and ugly cabbage leaves, a few nice knobs of lard on top of that, cover it and bake nice and slow. Adding water is to my mind not necessary as the tomatoes and peppers contain enough of it that will be rendered during the baking process. Of course, don't forget to season each layer with salt and pepper and it might also be a good idea to blanch the cabbage in salted water.
All that it needs is a couple of slices of nice rustic bread and perhaps a generous dollop of sour cream, too. But other than that, I consider it a complete meal.
Edited by Slayertplsko - 10/2/13 at 3:29pm