-1 head of cabbage
-1/2 pound ground beef
-1/4 pound ground pork or other meat (can also use all beef)
-6 cloves garlic
-1 cup cooked rice
-1 small can tomato paste
-4 large tomatoes, diced
-salt and pepper
-bay leaves and peppercorns (optional)
-olive oil or other cooking oil
-dill (optional garnish)
Prepare the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage and remove the core. Place cabbage in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until outer leaves begin to loosen. Carefully lift out the cabbage, remove the softened leaves and return the cabbage to the pot of boiling water until more leaves are softened. Repeat until all leaves have been removed. Remove the center stalks from inside each softened leaf (this will make the leaves easier to roll). The removed stalks can be chopped and set aside along with any leaves that are too small to stuff.
Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add meat and spices, cook until done. Add the meat and onions to the cooked rice.
Place half the chopped cabbage pieces on the bottom of a large cast iron pot or pyrex baking dish. Place about a handful of meat and rice mixture into each cabbage leaf and roll up. Place cabbage rolls seam-side down on top of the cabbage in the pan. Cover with remaining cabbage. Mix diced tomatoes and tomato paste with a hand blender and some water until you achieve desired sauce consistency. Pour tomato sauce over the cabbage. Sprinkle with peppercorns and bay leaves if desired. Simmer on low heat for approximately 3 hours or as desired. A slow cooker can be used instead of the oven or stove-top.
I liked topping my rolls with a sprinkling of dill. Enjoy!