Cabbage Rolls


serves 4
1 large loose-leafed green cabbage
1 lb (450 g) lean, fine-ground minced beef
1 clove garlic and 1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 crumbled bay leaf or a pinch ground bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (1 litre) 1 3/4 pint passata - smooth tomato puree (paste)


1. Separate out the leaves of the cabbage. Put the rough, tough outer leaves to one side - you will need them later.

2. Select about 12 large but malleable leaves. Dip them in boiling water in a big saucepan a few times until they soften so they can be rolled easily. You may need to cut off the thick bit of the stalk.

3. Mix the beef in with the onion and garlic and the allspice, bay leaf, thyme and plenty of salt and black pepper.

4. Then roll up your sleeves and knead it thoroughly,

5. Put about one-twelfth of the meat mixture - about a tablespoon - on the bottom third of each cabbage leaf, roll it over once, fold the sides in and then keep rolling until you have a neat cigar shaped parcel.

6. Put the washed, rough outer leaves in the bottom of a baking dish as a base, and put the 12 (or however many you have made) cabbage rolls in nice neat rows on top.

7. Mix a little salt and pepper into the passata and pour that over the cabbage rolls.

8. Put it to bake in a medium oven, gas mark 4 (350°F) 180°C for about 45-50 minutes.

9. Quite a lot of the sauce is absorbed while it cooks and keeps the cabbage rolls moist.

10. Serve the cabbage roll with a spoonful of the sauce to each plate.

11. Throw away the rough outer leaves.

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