- 1 head green cabbage (preferably Taiwanese- pick a large head)
- 1 pound ground beef (bison or lamb are also great options)
- ½ large onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 ribs celery
- 3 slices bacon
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 14 ounce can tomato puree or 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Peel the onion. Slice it into thin strips and then across the strips into a small dice. Chop the diced onions until they are a fine mince. Add it to a large bowl.
- Peel the carrots and celery and do the same, mincing them fine, and adding them to the bowl.
- Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir with a fork to combine.
- Cut the bacon into very fine strips and again into a fine dice. Add the bacon and the ground beef to the bowl.
- Using clean hands, combine the ingredients, making sure the veggies are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
- Set aside the meat filling.
- Using a small paring knife, core the center of the cabbage and discard. Gently loosen the leaves from the base and peel off the leaves until they look too small to use (If the leaves are smaller than the palm of your hand, stop peeling).
- Set up a bowl with ice water and put it next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add 5-6 cabbage leaves to the pot, gently submerging them under the boiling water with tongs or a spatula.
- Boil the leaves for 2 minutes and then transfer to the ice water for a minute to cool. Remove the leaves from the ice water and drain well.
- Keep boiling and cooling the cabbage until you have cooked all of the loose leaves.
- Place the drained cabbage on a cutting board and remove the fibrous center rib by cutting a skinny upside down “V” into the bottom of the cabbage leaf .
- Sort the cabbage leaves into a pile with smaller cabbage leaves and a pile of bigger cabbage leaves.
- Scoop a generous ¼ cup (you can also use a measuring cup) of the meat filling onto one of the smaller leaves. Fold the right side of the cabbage leaf over the filling and then fold the other side over the filling, trying to cover as much of the meat filling as you can. Roll to the end of the leaf.
- Take a bigger leaf and put the wrapped package seam side down. Again fold over one side and then the other, trying to cover the package evenly. Having the entire package double wrapped is ideal.
- Place the cabbage packet in a large 12” deep skillet, seam side down, and continue making packages. You should yield 12-13.
- Combine the tomato puree with the chicken stock, ketchup, sugar, and ground black pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar. (If using diced tomatoes, empty the can of diced tomatoes, including the juice, and blend them until smooth first). Taste the sauce (canned tomato products and purchased chicken stock can have varying levels of saltiness) and add the salt if needed, adjusting the seasonings to suit your taste.
- Pour the sauce over the cabbage packets and tuck in the bay leaf so it’s submerged.
- Put a lid over the pan and bring the contents of the pan to a simmer over high heat.
- Lower the heat to medium, crack the lid open a little, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Transfer the stuffed cabbage to a deep platter with plenty of the sauce. Serve immediately.
*If you run out of leaves, you can make meatballs and tuck them into the pan with the cabbage packages. Likewise, the ball of cabbage you have left after pulling off the usable leaves can be cut in half or into quarters if it’s kind of big. Tuck the cabbage into the pan as well and cook together with the packets.
*This dish can be made ahead and reheated the next day. It also freezes well.
Keywords: stuffed cabbage, dinner, beef, bacon, japanese