Visiting the farmer’s market is a ritual I look forward to every week. I love the energy of the market. One day it’s an empty parking lot, and the next it’s a hub of food and social activity. Sadly, each visit is inching closer to the last as my local market is closing for the season soon.
A few remaining vendors shiver in the cold as they hover over wooden crates filled with butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, mixed greens and beets. Displayed in cascading rows, the blocks of rich greens, reds and golden yellows are striking to the eye.
The combination of chilly temperatures and upcoming holiday season has intensified my desire for hearty comfort food. This recipe was inspired by a giant head of Napa cabbage I picked up during a recent pilgrimage to the market. Its crisp leaves were large and begged to be stuffed. And I decided at that moment it was my moral imperative to fulfill its destiny, to become a tasty meal.
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. hot Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1/3 cup onion, minced
- ½ cup celery, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- 1 (25 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boiling.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Discard the leaves. Cut the core of the cabbage and separate the remaining leaves. Blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until lightly tender.
- Line a large enamel cast iron pot with the smaller cabbage leaves. Plunge the larger leaves into cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Mix the remaining ingredients until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on the cutting board. Remove the stem with a paring knife. Scoop a large spoonful of the meat mixture onto the leaf. Fold in each side to form a package. Repeat until all the leaves are rolled.
- Line the cabbage rolls into a single layer in the pot. Pour the soup evenly across the top. If you have extra leaves, lay them across the top.
- Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.