Ground Beef Stuffed Cabbage With Fresh Tomato Sauce
by Johnny Loua, Chef, Seattle, Washington
Makes about 10 cabbage rolls
Fresh Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 large tomatoes, roughly diced
- ½ cup basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 10 leaves cabbage, blanched*
- 8 leaves Swiss chard
- 1½ pounds Certified Piedmontese ground beef
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- ½ teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- ½ cup diced fennel
- ½ cup minced shallots
- ½ cup minced celery
- Pinch chile flakes
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
*To blanch the cabbage leaves, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Submerge the leaves, boiling until tender, then transfer to an ice bath until cooled. Strain and set aside.
Make the tomato sauce: heat oil in a skillet, then add garlic and onion. Cook for five minutes, add the tomatoes, basil, chile flakes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef with the cooked rice, fennel seed, pepper, fennel, shallots, celery, garlic, and salt, and mix well.
To stuff the cabbage leaves, portion a small scoop of the ground beef mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf, then roll up tightly (like a spring roll), and transfer to a large casserole dish. Cover with the fresh tomato sauce, then arrange the Swiss chard leaves on top. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.