Stuffed cabbage is a classic. It’s usually made with beef but ground chicken does the job nicely. This dish may seem a little fiddly if you’re dealing with chemo, but when you’re not at your best it’s really comforting to eat, and it’s good for you too. Prepare certain elements ahead of time to store in the freezer to save time during prep. The quick tomato sauce and the rice are good candidates for preparing early – I’ve been known to use leftover cooked brown rice in my cabbage rolls.
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a couple cabbage leaves at a time and boil, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are malleable. Transfer the leaves to a colander set under cold running water. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep wide skillet or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and cook for 6 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic, grated carrots and apples. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Prepare the Quick Tomato Sauce in the same pan.
3. Meanwhile, cut the cabbage leaves in half and remove the tough stems, you should have a leaf in a triangular shape.
4. Add the rice, ground chicken, and egg along with some salt to the carrot mixture. Stir well.
5. Lay the cabbage triangles on a work surface and place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Fold over two corners of the leaves and roll. Repeat until all the leaves are filled.
6. Add the stuffed cabbages to the pan of Quick Tomato Sauce, seam side down in a single layer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time if the sauce becomes to dry, until the meat has cooked through, about 30 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.
Ann’s Tips and Tricks
Traditionally white rice is used to stuff cabbage, but because the cooking time of brown rice is twice that of white, it’s important to parboil brown rice to keep the correct cooking time.
Here’s how to parboil it: Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Throw in 1/3 cup of brown rice (it will swell). Boil the rice for 20 minutes then drain. Use as directed in the recipe.