I first learned to make cabbage rolls from my adopted Ukrainian babcia, Stephanie Bilynsky. She also taught me how to make borscht and pierogi. They are a bit labor intensive, but well worth the time!
1 head of cabbage
1 lb ground beef or pork or a mixture
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked in 3 cups water or about 4 cups leftover cooked rice
1 onion, peeled and chopped,
1-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper or any other seasoning you may like
4-6 cups crushed or canned tomatoes or a mixture of the two
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil. While water is heating, cut core from cabbage, then remove any soiled leaves from the outside of the cabbage and discard. Continue to remove as many of the large leaves as possible, you will need about 20 or so. When as many leaves as possible are removed, blanch each one in the boiling water for a couple of minutes. You want the leaves to be wilted, not so much cooked. Remove from water and set aside. While they are cooling, mix the raw ground meat with the cooked rice, add the finely chopped onion and garlic, as well as any seasoning you are using. Grease a large roasting pan with a lid, chopp some of the remaining cabbage and place on the bottom of the pan. Taking a cabbage leave, if there is a thick rib running down the lengthe of the leaf, carefull shave off the thickest part, this is so that you can fold the leafe without tearing. Place one or two tablespoons of the meat mixture in a log across the bottom (stem end) of the leaf, fold over the sides and then roll up. Place in the roaster fold side down. Repeat with as many as the leaves and filling as you have. When all leaves are filled and placed in roaster, top with the crushed and or diced tomatoes, tightly seal the roaster with foil and then a lid, place in the oven and bake for about an hour. After an hour, remove the lid and bake another 30 minutes or so. Cool a bit and then eat!
You can use the same meat filling mixture for filling sweet peppers and cooking the same way.