In high school my dad got a new job and in return our family had to move. We moved several hundred miles away to a bigger area. I had a bit of trouble making friends since it seemed the clicks had been made and I did not know anyone. This may have been easier if I was younger but my freshmen year in high school it was hard. So I was so happy when I made my first friend. Her mother also cooked the best southern food. Her family was from Kentucky and her mother had worked in a diner there. Many dishes were different than what my mother would have made. Cabbage rolls was one of her specialties In honor of my best friend way back when and her mom I share this cabbage roll recipe.

Start with a whole head of cabbage and peel the outer leaves off.

Immerse the head of cabbage in boiling water. Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes til soft not mushy.

Boil the cabbage from the water and let cool.

For Filling:

1½ lb. ground meat
½ lb. ground pork
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
1 egg
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1 finely minced onion
1 tsp. sweet Paprika
1 tsp. allspice
½ cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium-large head of green cabbage
1 lb. package sauerkraut

Mix the meat filling with 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground pork, 1 egg, 1 cup (cooked) brown rice, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1 tbs. chopped parsley, 1 tsp. sweet Paprika, 1 tsp. allspice and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well.

For Sauce:
Remaining sauce of 15 oz. can of tomato sauce (1/2 cup used in filling)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken broth
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and drain sauerkraut
Remove outer edges from cabbage head and rinse.
Prepare a large pot of boiling water to submerge cabbage head.
Prepare meat filling by combing ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, egg, chopped parsley, chopped onion, Paprika, allspice, ½ cup tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Immerse head of cabbage into boiling water for 3–4 minutes until leaves are partially soft.
Remove head from water and let cool.
Once cooled, remove leaf from cabbage head.
With a paring knife, trim down stem on the leaf.
Fill bottom part of leaf with about 1 cup of meat filling.
Tucking in the left side, roll up the meat filling into the cabbage leaf.
Tuck in the right side of the leaf into the roll.
Continue rolling leaves until meat filling is gone.
Chop remaining cabbage head into small piece and place into the bottom of a large pot followed by 1½ cups of sauerkraut.
Mix tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tbsp. brownsugar and salt and pepper to taste.
Place a layer of rolls over the sauerkraut followed by ½ of the tomato mixture.
Make another layer of remaining rolls followed by remaining sauerkraut.
Top off with the other ½ of the tomato sauce.
Cover pot and bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 2–2½ hours until leaves are soft.

Now get ready to make the roll Take cabbage leaf and turn over with bottom stem facing you Fill with 1 cup filling

Tuck the left side of the leave in and roll After rolling tuck in right side of leaf

You want need to re-immerse the cabbage head into the boiling water half way throw to soften the inner leaves.

This recipe should make 10–12 cabbage rolls depending on the size of the leaves.

Take the remaining cabbage head and chop in to small pieces.

Place chopped cabbage and 1 1/2 cups of rinsed and drained sauerkraut in the bottom of a big pot.

Cover kraut with 1/2 cabbage rolls

Mix up the tomato sauce using the remaining tomato sauce, 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbs. brown sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 cup chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.

Use 1/2 sauce to cover cabbage rolls

Top with another layer of kraut and the rest of the cabbage rolls. Top with the last of the tomato sauce

Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover with a tight fitting lid.

Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat and once boiling, reduce to a low simmer.

Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours until cabbage leaves are soft.

Note: you don’t want to cook the cabbage rolls at too high of a heat for it may break up the delicate leaves.

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