These cabbage rolls have a slighy different flavor than most. They do not have the sweetness typically expected. Instead, there is a more smokey flavor. Not only is this a healthy make ahead casserole type meal, but it also pairs very well with the pickled carrots and jalapeños that I have posted as well.
First prepare the meat filling by mixing together the following:
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 cup of cooked white rice (not instant)
1 yellow onion – diced
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
After mixing this fully, keep refrigerated.
Next prepare a head of cabbage by coring it and removing the outer leaves.
Bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Once you have achieved a rolling boil, add the cabbage and cook 3-5 minutes. Remove the cabbage and allow it to cool. Once cool enough to touch, gently remove the leaves one by one trying not to break them….. but if they do it will still work.
Place the cabbage leaves with the concave surface up. Add about 1/2-1 cup of the meat mixture. Fold this into a ball and place seamed side down in an ungreased casserole pan. Continue until all meat has been used.
For the topping, mix together a 14 ounce can of petit diced tomatoes with italian seasoning as well as 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika. Pour this over the rolls.
Cover the dish using aluminum foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until thermometer inserted to the center of a roll reaches 170 degrees.
Again, we serve these with crusty french bread and some pickled carrots and jalapeños.
I have made these in the morning and stored them in the refrigerator to bake in the evening. I feel that making it ahead enhances the flavors of the dish.