There are many variants to stuffed cabbage, this is the one we like:
5 lb pickled cabbage
3 lb ground meat, a combination of beef and pork
2 tb butter
2 cups onion
1 1/2 cups white rice
8 oz smoked bacon or 1 smoked hock
1 bunch dill
6 oz tomato sauce
2 heaping tb tomato paste
The pickled cabbage you find jarred in the polish food section. The meat combo I preffer is 60% chuck to 40% pork. I always use pearl rice, but any white variety will be fine. Get the best bacon you can find, none of that thinly sliced stuff and don't even eye the turkey bacon. If you can't find one that makes you feel your arteries cloggin' up, just get a smoked hock or two.
First sweat the onion in the butter over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Set aside to cool.
Place all your meat in a bowl and add the rice, the egg and the onion. Season and mix using your hands to gently combine all the ingredients. If you overmix your meat will become dense and dry. Set aside while you prep the cabbage. Take out the leaves, unroll them and trim to size. You want about the same size in all of them. Place one in the palm of your hand, and put the meat in the center. Roll up as tightly as you can.
Chop the cabbage trimmings and any leaves left over and put a thin layer in the bottom of your pan. Put two slices of bacon on top and then make a layer of stuffed cabbage, as crowded as possible to prevent unwrapping during cooking. Then bacon. Then meat wrapped in cabbage. If you're using the hock, you want it in the middle of it all, so just build your layers around it. Top with another layer of shredded cabbage.
Wedge your dill between the cabbage and the wall, plop the tomato sauce and paste on top, and run water over it. You only want just enough to cover it. Bring to boil and then simmer covered for 2 hours. Replenish water as needed, check every 30 to 40 minutes.
Tip for other lazy***slackers like me: by trim the leaves I simply mean cut in half, leave out the stem. You'll get biiig, huge stuffed cabbage, but hey, you'll only need two before going into hibernation. It's a sweet deal. This recipe will yield 30 such mutants. Serves, um, 6?
And final proof of deliciousness:
Believe me, it's no small feat getting her to eat anything, much less something containg meat. QED.
*** Cholesterol screening not included. Each must purchase his own.