How about some mini cabbage meatballs – with the the meat the same as for stuffed cabbage but made into mini cabbage meatballs, surrounded with cabbage leaves and tomato sauce and cooked slowly? They taste the same as stuffed cabbages since the flavor of the cabbage seeps into the meatballs.
Making the meatballs is simple. Either roll into balls using 2 Tbsp of the mixed meat or using a 2 Tbsp scooper/baller – packed tightly. Either way these are the perfect side for parties.
These mini meatballs with the flavor of traditional Gołąbki, or stuffed cabbage, are perfect for dinner parties as an appetizer (hors d’oeuvre) or for that big game-day at home with family and friends. They are small, easy to eat as they are easy to make.
You can serve these cabbage flavored meatballs with all the trimmings of the traditional cabbage rolls using the cooked cabbage from baking as well as a side dish of the sauce, a dish of sour cream and one of horseradish for dipping.
Freeze and Thaw Cabbage Instead of boiling:
A few years back my mom mentioned to me about placing the head of cabbage (which is wrapped in plastic wrap) in the freezer until it is fully frozen. Then remove and place in the fridge to thaw overnight. You may have to allow it to finish thawing at room temp. When thawed, core the cabbage and easily peel the wilted leaves for your use.
No more steaming the cabbage, no more strong cabbage odor throughout your house and no burning your fingers as you pull leaf by leaf from the head as it slowly steams. Your cabbage leaves are wilted while still keeping their vitamins, minerals and full cabbage flavor in tacked.
You can also slow cook in a large covered dutch oven on top of the stove or in a large electric slow cooker. So many ways to make life easier and get the same results.
After they’re done slow cooking, remove the cabbage leaves, line a serving tray with the leaves and serve the mini-meatballs on that bed of cooked cabbage leaves with toothpicks.
- 1 Large head of cabbage
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 cup of rice - cooked 1/2 way
- 2 large onion - finely chopped (save about a 1/3 of the chopped onions for the sauce)
- 3 eggs - lightly but well beaten
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 2 tbsp of dry beef bullion (or one cube)
- 2 cans (approx. 29 ounce) of tomato sauce
- 2 cans (approx. 12 ounce) of tomato paste
- 2 cans (approx. 10.75 ounce ea.) of Herb flavored condensed (AS IS) Tomato Soup
- remaining chopped onion
- Was your hands well as you are going to really get into the making of these cabbage rolls.
- Place the head of cabbage (which is wrapped in a plastic wrap) in the freezer until it is fully frozen (1 full day minimum)
- Remove cabbage and place in the fridge to thaw overnight (you may have to allow it to finish thawing at room temp).
- When thawed, core the cabbage and easily peel the wilted leaves for your use.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix thoroughly all the ingredients
- Save about an 1/3 of the amount of the chopped onions for the sauce.
- Make into mini sized (about 1 1/2" diameter) meatballs
- Place on a non-stick baking tray
- QUICK-Bake at to brown only the outside of the meatballs 400 degrees - about 20 mins
- While meatballs are in the oven prepare the baking dish as instructed below
- When browned, remove and add to the prepared cabbage lined baking dish
- Using a baking tray, glass or a disposable aluminum try - spray lightly with oil
- Core and remove all the leaves from the head of cabbage (save the core)
- Trim the thick spine of the leaves and place with chopped core on the bottom of an oblong baking dish
- Further line the baking dish with a 1/2 of the cabbage leaves (read below for deep dish)
- Spoon some sauce evenly on top of the cabbage
- Place the Polish style meatballs loosely on the cabbage leaves
- If the baking tray is deep enough you can make a 2nd layer but using 1/3 leaves on bottom, 1/3 on top of first layer and 1/3 to cover the mini Polish meatballs
- Spoon more sauce evenly on top of the layer of meatballs.
- Top the Polish Meatballs with the remaining cabbage leaves
- Finish up by covering with the remaining sauce.
- Cover tightly with foil
- Slow bake at 325 degrees F for about 90 minutes or longer depending on the amount of rolls and their thickness
- Use a meat thermometer to be sure the rolls in the center are at least 165 degrees F (remember you're using pork in the recipe)
- If after 90 mins the center rolls aren't ready, continue to slowly cook until ready.
- Remember, the slow cooking at a lower temperature allows the flavor of the cabbage to get into the meatballs.
- BROWNING the meatballs before cooking makes the outside of the meatballs firm enough to use with toothpicks instead of forks.
- You can also slow cook in a large covered dutch oven on top of the stove or in a large electric slow cooker. So many ways to make life easier and get the same results.
- Serve with bite sized kielbasa, sour cream dip and crackers
Originally published on: Jan 10, 2014