This is our personal favorite Polish Recipe! The key to this version of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is that you combine both Pork and Beef meat, don't use just ground beef. You can also substitute the meat for mushrooms to make vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls, commonly served as part of the Polish Christmas Eve feast. Also, you can adjust the cayenne to make it more spicy too. And, the other key ingredient is the cooked buckwheat. Even though you can substitute rice, the buckwheat adds a rich roasted flavor that truly adds to this dish -- and it is better for you too! Serve with Potato Cheese Pierogi and Cauliflower Gratinee.
Add oil to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat on low, until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes (may need more if adding mushrooms to sauce). Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, celery, wine, parsley, bell pepper, Worcester sauce, Thyme, and 1/2 cup of the prepared spicy tomato sauce, mix to incorporate and then take it off the heat. Combine the ground beef and pork meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the cooked buckwheat, and the sauteed onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and set aside. Put one cabbage head into water, boil till outer leaves soften (3-4 minutes), take the head out of water, remove the outer leaves, lay them on the side to dry. Repeat this process until all leaves can be carefully removed on both heads of cabbage.
Take the reserved big outer leaves and lay them out. Use all the good looking leaves to make the cabbage rolls, layer the rest on the bottom of a casserole pan(s) for a tasty side dish. Put about 1/2 cup of the meat filling in the center of a cabbage leaf and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in casserole pan (or pans).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the remaining sweet and sour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the dish with a lid or foil. Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the meat is cooked.
**This dish is great frozen and reheated. And depending on the size of the cabbages and the size of your casserole dish, you can easily make to dishes with this, eat one and freeze the other for another great meal! This dish can easily serve 6-8 people.
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