Stuffed cabbage is a classic Ashkenazi Jewish dish, and everybody seems to have their favorite way of making it. Also known as holishkes or prokes, stuffed cabbage leaves were a central part of the Eastern European Jewish diet. When we talk about these types of dishes, it nearly always comes down to one question:
“How did Bubbe make it?”
One thing I’ve found is that I like a stuffed cabbage that is less sweet and more tart. Polish versions tend to be extremely sweet, often with raisins. I prefer a tart sauce with a slight sweetness, as well as a savory filling full of flavor. I add sauerkraut for that extra bit of tartness. The filling is key– a stuffed cabbage filling can easily be bland if you don’t give it lots of seasoning and care.
At any rate, this is my version of stuffed cabbage, the one my husband loves and asks me for on a regular basis. Your bubbe may have done hers differently. That’s what is so fun about Jewish food… every family has their own way, and every bubbe’s way is the best way. The sauce’s flavor can be adjusted by adding more brown sugar or lemon juice to taste, if desired.
Stuffed cabbage is a wonderful dish for the autumn and winter months. It’s cozy and satisfying, and it’s also pretty healthy. It’s gluten free (when using certified GF packaged products), low in carbs, high in protein and full of fiber.
- 12 leaves cabbage
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- For the sauce:
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil cabbage leaves 3 minutes; drain.
In large bowl, combine 1 cup cooked rice, egg, milk, onion, ground beef, salt, and pepper. Place about ¼ cup of meat mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, and roll up, tucking in ends. Place rolls in large baking pan.
Mix together tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 75 minutes.