CROCK-POT STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb sausage meat
1 cup rice, uncooked
1/2 cup bread crumbs (optional)
2 cloves garlic, (put through garlic crusher)
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large onion, ground with onion juice
large cabbage leaves
flour for dredging
vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce or soup
Grind day-old bread in a blender, and add seasonings (or use pre-seasoned breadcrumbs).
Grind the onion in a blender, or if you're grinding your own hamburger and pork, add the raw onion to the meat which is to be ground.
Combine all ingredients other than the cabbage.
Remove the core of the cabbage. Find a large, heavy, carving fork (2 prongs) and put it through the center of the cabbage.
Fill a very large stockpot with salted water and bring to a boil. Place the cabbage into the boiling water, leaving the fork extending. Simmer for a few minutes and remove as the outer leaves begin to turn a bright green.
The object is to cook the cabbage for as little time as possible, but long enough to tenderize the outer leaves. Remove from the water and allow to cool on a dish until the outer leaves are still hot but are cool enough to handle.
Remove as many outer leaves as you can by cutting them off at the bottom, one at a time, with a sharp paring knife. Continue to remove leaves until you reach leaves that are not flexible. Return this uncooked portion of the inner cabbage to the boiling water pot and continue as before until all the leaves are steamed and removed and prepared for the filling.
NOTE: As you remove leaves, some will tear and otherwise not be suitable for using as a wrapper. Do not discard these, as they can be used to line the pot, or you can shred them to add to the filling mixture.
At the bottom of each leaf there will be a thick stem; sliver a slice off this to thin it out (some people cut a V-notch here). The purpose is to make the base flexible so that you can roll it up.
Stuff each leaf with the filling mixture. Starting at the bottom of the leaf, roll up one turn, then turn in the sides of the leaf to cover the filling, then roll up some more until you reach the top of the leaf and have a little bundle.
Sprinkle with salt and dredge in flour. Brown in fat in a skillet (This is an optional step if you have the time).
You can now re-use the pan used to cook the cabbage rolls on your stove top or you may cook these in your slow cooker.
Layer the bottom of the Crockpot or pan with broken cabbage leaves (the ones that weren't complete or too small to use for rolling). Stack the filled cabbage leaf bundles on top of the bed of leaves, a single layer at a time. Top each layer with a few spoons of sauce or tomato soup, and repeat with another layer of leaves, another layer of cabbage rolls, etc.
Stack the bundles in their layers carefully with the end of each leaf underneath (some people fasten with a toothpick but this is not really required). Finish off the final layer with any remaining filling.
Cover and simmer on the lowest heat setting of your stove top for 2-3 hours or in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours.
Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven.
To bake, stack bundles over cabbage leaves in a casserole dish, pour on the tomato sauce or soup, cover with foil, and bake in a slow oven, 300 degrees F., for about 2 hours.
Whichever method you use to cook the cabbage rolls, be sure not to overcook, so test often and remove when the cabbage leaves are tender. If you use tomato sauce rather than tomato soup, add a teaspoon catsup to the mix.