Stuffed Savoy Cabbage with Beef, Pork, and Rice in a Spicy Tomato Sauce


This recipe brings an old family favorite into the 21st century. Savoy cabbage becomes a wrapper for a fragrant mix of beef, pork, herbs, and nutty brown rice. The bundles, which meld with a spicy tomato sauce, are easy to make: The cabbage leaves are boiled briefly until tender and pliable, and then folded around the filling.


For the Stuffed Cabbage

  • Coarse salt

  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage (2 to 3 pounds)

  • 12 ounces ground chuck (90 percent lean)

  • 12 ounces ground pork

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (from 1 cup dry)

  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika

For the Tomato Sauce (makes 3 cups)

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, with juice

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • Coarse salt


  1. Make the tomato sauce: Pulse tomatoes with juice in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick, about 20 minutes. Season with salt. Let cool completely.

  2. Make the stuffed cabbage: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage head, and cook until outer leaves are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Peel outer layer of leaves, and drain. Return remaining cabbage to water, and repeat until all leaves are cooked and removed. Pat each leaf dry with a kitchen towel. Select 12 large light-green leaves. Reserve remaining leaves for another use.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using 2 forks, gently stir together beef, pork, rice, onion, parsley, paprika, and 1 tablespoon salt.

  4. Working with 1 leaf at a time, trim thick part of rib with a paring knife, leaving leaf intact. Arrange about 1/2 cup filling (less for smaller leaves) in center of each leaf. Fold stem end of cabbage over filling. Fold in sides of cabbage. Carefully roll cabbage over to form a package, overlapping ends to seal. Transfer each, seam side down, to a large, shallow baking dish.

  5. Spread sauce over stuffed cabbage leaves. Cover with parchment-lined foil, and bake until cooked through and cabbage is tender, about 1 hour.

Cook's Notes

The tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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