MawMaw-Style Cabbage Rolls


by Frank Davis / WWL-TV Cooking Expert

Posted on October 3, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 1:58 PM

Frank's MawMaw-Style Cabbage Rolls


If you've lived in New Orleans all your life, you've no doubt eaten your share of cabbage rolls! But these are not just your everyday cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice. Maw Maw showed me a long time ago that what makes cabbage rolls special is the combination of seasonings along with the stir -fry cabbage that you mix into the stuffing. If you want a recipe a skosh above the average, try these? and enjoy!


1 large head green cabbage

1 medium head red cabbage

1/2 stick margarine

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 lb. lean ground pork

1 large onion, finely diced

6 green onions, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. sweet basil

1 cup concentrated beef stock

2 cups cooked rice

Salt and pepper to taste (or Frank Davis Beef Seasoning)

2 cans tomato sauce, 15-ounce size

1 can Rotel tomatoes, 10-ounce size

2 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning

? cup grated Parmesan cheese

? cup shredded provolone cheese


First, pull off 8 to 10 large cabbage leaves (you can mix the red and the green cabbage to give the dish added color). Then, with a sharp utility knife, meticulously trim down the thickened base of the cabbage leaves. Then place them into a 4-quart Dutch oven or stockpot and poach them in about a quart of boiling water for about 5 minutes until tender. But do not overcook them or they will tear apart when you try to stuff them! When they're ready, lay them out on paper towels and allow them to drain.

Meanwhile, shred the remaining cabbage (both red and green). Then, in a 12-inch skillet melt the margarine and quickly stir-fry the cabbage. About halfway through the cooking process, add the wine vinegar and cook until most of the pungent aroma is gone. When done (and it should take about 8 to 10 minutes), set the mix aside to cool.

Next, using a 12-inch frypan, saut? the ground beef and pork together until lightly brown. Then toss in the onions, celery, green onions, garlic, thyme, basil and Worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking until the vegetables have wilted. Then, using a strainer, drain off all the excess grease.

Now place the meat mixture back into the frypan, stir in the cooked cabbage and the beef stock, and simmer the meat mix until most of the beef stock liquid evaporates.

At this point, remove the frypan from the heat, mix in the rice and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Then fill each cabbage leaf with about a quarter-cup or so of meat stuffing and roll it up, folding the sides tightly over to the center. When they're all done, place the rolls into a lightly oiled casserole dish.

Then, with the same pan you used to saut? the meat mix, simmer the tomato sauce and Rotels together, along with the vegetable seasoning, until the mixture turns hot and bubbly and thickens slightly.

All that's left is to ladle the sauce over the cabbage rolls, sprinkle them lightly with grated Parmesan and provolone and bake them uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour.


Chef's Notes:

1-I suggest you serve the rolls with a crisp garden salad and a side of crunchy buttered cornbread. Incidentally, any extra stuffing you have left can be simmered into the tomato sauce mixture; and if you have any extra cabbage left over place it around the cabbage rolls in the casserole dish before baking.

2-As a special technique, I like to bake the rolls, lightly covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, for the first 30 minutes, then finish the process by baking them uncovered for the last 30 minutes. This produces a more moist cabbage roll.

3-If you want the mix saltier, you can add extra salt and pepper to your taste as the stuffing is made.

4-These cabbage rolls can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to four days before serving. They can be reheated in the oven or in the microwave. And they freeze well too!