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Smoky Veal Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Love the ease of making your family’s favourite cabbage rolls? With a few simple changes, this classic economical mainstay can be updated to satisfy your most discerning dinner guests. In this recipe, Savoy cabbage leaves are stuffed with a smoky, well-seasoned Ontario Veal and rice mixture and then slow-cooked in a rich roasted tomato sauce. Here’s to updating the classics!

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and pepper
  • 1 28 oz (796 ml) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 Savoy cabbage leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) parboiled long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb (500 g) lean minced Ontario Veal
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh dill

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion; cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant but not browned, about one minute. Pour in tomatoes with their juice, brown sugar and bay leaves. Bring to simmer over medium low heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, blanch cabbage leaves until tender crisp and bright green, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer leaves to large bowl of ice water to cool.

In skillet, cook bacon until crispy over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook one minute. Scrape into bowl and cool slightly. Stir in rice, bread crumbs, beaten egg, veal, salt, cayenne and dill.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Trim any large veins from cabbage leaves. Working with one leaf at a time, put 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the veal mixture into the centre of the cabbage leaf. Fold in sides and roll up to make a package. Arrange in a 13-x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls and cover with foil.

Bake in preheated oven until sauce is bubbling, cabbage is tender and veal and rice are cooked, about 45 minutes.

Serves 6.

Suggested Wine Pairings: Vineland Estates St. Urban Sauvignon Blanc 2004; Flat Rock Cellars Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2004; East Dell Pinot Noir 2004

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