Venison Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Winter is coming! And that means winter vegetables, take cabbage for example. I love cabbage, it is one of may favorite vegetables to cook with. I put a little spin on the traditional cabbage rolls; obviously I don’t dig on beef so I used ground venison. Instead of rice I used cooked barley. The barley added a great nuttiness and texture that was fantastic. Paired with a simple sweet and sour tomato sauce, it really doesn’t get much better or more comforting than this dish. I served this with a warm potato salad but it will go really well with any potato side. Also this is a very versatile dish, so if you want to use white or brown rice instead of barley it will still come out great. If you’re running low on venison any ground game meat you have will work as well!

galumpkis venison

Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 an onion, diced
1 16oz can of tomato sauce
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon raw sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cabbage Roll Ingredients

2 lbs of ground Venison
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of the sweet and sour tomato sauce you made above
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heads green cabbage

Directions for the sauce

Coat a 3-quart saucepan with the oil and place over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, paprika, salt and pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the three cans of tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Directions for the cabbage rolls

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. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat, egg, cooked barley, sauteed onion mixture, and about a cup of the tomato sauce we already made. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. I like to set the filling mixture aside for about 30 min to let all the flavors marry together.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut out the cores of the cabbages with a sharp knife and carefully pull off all the rest of the leaves, keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible. Chop up the remaining cabbage and set aside. Blanch the cabbage leaves in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until pliable. Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many you have to wrap up. Carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Take the reserved chopped up cabbage and line the bottom of your casserole pan. This will prevent the cabbage rolls from burning on the bottom when baked. Use all the good looking leaves to make the cabbage rolls. Put about 1/2 cup of the meat filling in the center of the cabbage 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 a casserole pan. Pour the remaining sweet and sour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. If you have any leftover leaves I like to lay them over the top of everything. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour then carefully remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Take out of the over and let cool and rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. I like to serve it with some chopped parsley and lemon, enjoy!

Cabbage leaves ready to be rolled.
cabbage

Ready for the oven!
galumpkis-1

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