Adapted from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York
Hands on time: 20-30 minutes
Roasting time: 2 hours
12 large leaves from Savoy cabbage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
1 lb/450g ground beef
½ cup raw rice (I used brown)
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
1 (28oz/796ml) tin peeled tomatoes
1 small onion, peeled & quartered
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ - 1 tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon (although I did forget this and it still tasted delicious)
Garnish: fresh flat leaf/Italian parsley , chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C
Prepare cabbage leaves:
2. Bring a large pot (I use my Dutch oven) of salted water to a boil.
3. Cut out core, using a sharp, pointed, paring knife, keeping the cabbage whole.
4. Plunge the whole cored cabbage into the boiling water for 1-2 minutes to soften a couple of layers of outer leaves. Peel off the softened leaves gently, keeping them whole and set aside. Repeat until you have 12 large, separated leaves. Pat dry and set aside.
5. Shave off the thickest part of the hard rib at the bottom, center of each leaf so that it will roll easily around the filling.
6. In a large skillet, sauté the onion in oil over medium high heat until soft. Add the meat and stir until the color changes. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and stir until blended and juices all absorbed. (at most 3-4 minutes)
7. Lay one cabbage leaf on a cutting board or plate at a time. Place 2 heaping tbsp of filling in the center of each leaf, closer to the stem end and roll up loosely, starting with the bottom, then sides and lastly top to form an envelop, trapping all the filling. Loose wrapping keeps the filling intact, as the rice will expand during cooking.
8. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the tomatoes and garlic are pureed. Taste for seasoning.
9. Line an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold all the holishkes with some remaining cabbage leaves so the holishkes won’t stick and tear.
10. Place the holishkes seam side down over the cabbage leaves allowing some space between each package for expansion during roasting. Top with sauce and cover with foil, sealing well. Cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours, checking after the first hour and add water if necessary. You don’t want soup, but the rice needs some moisture to cook through.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley