Stuffed Cabbage
  • 3 small cabbages, plus additional shredded cabbage, optional
  • 6 onions, diced small, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups uncooked rice
  • ½ cup oil, plus oil for frying
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons chicken soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 pounds chopped meat
  • 3 eggs
For the sauce:
  • 21 ounces tomato paste (1 [15-ounce] can plus 1 [6-ounce] can)*
  • 1 cup duck sauce
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons chicken soup mix
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  1. As soon as you decide you might want to cook some stuffed cabbage, stick those cabbages into the freezer. The longer they sit in there the better. Ideally, they should freeze for at least a week. This is the preferred method for peeling those leaves without breaking them. The freezing process softens the leaves, almost like cooking them, without the mess of the hot water and pot.
  2. Remove cabbages from freezer and let defrost in large bowls or in a colander in the sink, as they will emit lots of liquid. This might take a good few hours. Don’t rush this.
  3. Prepare the filling: Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add 3 onions and garlic. Cook over low heat until soft and translucent, stirring from time to time. Add rice, ½ cup oil, paprika, sugar, chicken soup mix, and pepper. Mix to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Add meat and eggs to cooled mixture. Your filling is now ready.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Set out 3 (9 x 13-inch) roasting pans. Carefully and patiently, so that the softened leaves don’t rip, peel the cabbage leaves from the heads one by one. The bigger ones will have thicker membranes, or ribs, down the middle. Cut them down a bit with a knife to facilitate rolling. Add any broken pieces of cabbage or stems to the roasting pans. Add remaining 3 onions to the pans. You can also add some shredded cabbage to the pans, if your family, like mine, likes the cabbage pieces.
  6. Place one heaping tablespoon of meat onto the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf around the meat, tucking in the sides to secure. One by one, place filled rolls into the roasting pan over the diced onions. Place cabbage rolls snugly into the pans.
  7. Prepare the sauce: Combine tomato paste, duck sauce, brown sugar, and chicken soup mix. Spread over the cabbage rolls. The sauce will not be runny; rather, it will have the consistency of a rub. While cooking, the cabbage will release liquid and the rub will become gravy. Cover pans; bake for 2½ hours. Remove from oven; add lemon juice to the sauce (taste and add more lemon juice if you prefer it more tangy). Return to oven for additional 1½ hours. Stuffed cabbage freezes very well, raw, baked, or half-baked.
  8. Yield: 3 (9- x 13-inch) containers of stuffed cabbage
  9. Note: You can substitute the tomato paste with tomato sauce if you prefer a runnier sauce.
Recipe by Between Carpools at