While visiting my brother in Chicago, we got to talking about my Grandmas Holopchi recipe(Stuffed Cabbage Rolls). She was born in Czechoslovakia and came to live with us(my parents, brothers and I) in the 1950’s. The upper floor of our home was hers and I can still recall she made the best foods!
As I did not have her original recipe, I looked online for ideas and modified/combined ones that I thought best fit from what I remember hers was like and here it is:
1 (4-pound) whole head of cabbage raw(or 2 smaller if you like smaller rolls)
1/2-cup white rice
1 finely chopped medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 T grape seed oil instead of butter called for
1-1/2 lb. ground chuck/round/sirloin(I used sirloin)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 tsp. pepper
paprika to taste….I used 1/2 tsp.
1 large egg
1 lb. sauerkraut drained
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1-1/2 C water (you can use the drained sauerkraut water and/or the water from the boiled cabbage)
Remove a couple large outer leaves from cabbage and discard. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, depending on size of head…or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 16 -18 leaves. You may have to put the head back in the water as you get towards the center of the head. Keep this hot water available.
When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem at the base from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
I used about an 8 qt sized pot to cook the rolls in. Use about half the sauerkraut and line the bottom of the pot with it. You will then be placing your rolls on top. Also what cooked leaves you don’t use to roll, can also go into this pot.
Determine how many leaves you have and divide your meat in sections in equal parts to fill all the leaves. Some larger leaves will use more of the meat. Place a dollop of meat on each cabbage leaf at the base. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. Then keep rolling away from you till the end of the leaf. Place in prepared pot.
Top with all the remaining sauerkraut. Combine the tomato sauce and to start 1-1/2C water. Add enough water to almost cover completely. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer 4 to 5 hours.
I also made a loaf of rye bread to go along with this meal and I must say as I was eating, I pictured my sweet Grandma and said, yes, this tastes like hers <3