1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 C mire poix (1/2 C onion, 1/4 C carrot, 1/4 C celery - all finely diced*)
½ C brown sugar
¼ C red wine vinegar
¼ C lemon juice
2 T cornstarch, dissolved in ¼ C water
* I'm not a fan of celery, so I tend to go light on the celery and throw in a little extra onion and/or carrot.
Stuffed Cabbage Ingredients
½ large (or 1 small) head cabbage
1 lb ground beef (or combination beef & pork)
1½ C cooked rice (cook in chicken stock for extra flavor; I used a whole grain, wild rice blend)
½ C bread crumbs
½ C caramelized onions
¼ C brown sugar
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp each salt & pepper
Prepare cabbage... Use a pairing knife to remove core. For the most tender leaves, freeze the cabbage the day ahead. With or without freezing, bring a large pot of water to boil; boil cabbage until leaves are tender and pull apart easily (approx. 5 minutes, or slightly more if not frozen). If ribs are still too tough, trim thickest parts.
Mix sauce... In saute pan, cook mire poix with a little oil until onions are translucent and carrots have softened. Dissolve cornstarch in water; combine mire poix, cornstarch and remaining ingredients in saucepan, bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for ½ hour.
Prepare filling... stir together ground beef, cooked rice, bread crumbs, caramelized onions, brown sugar, thyme, garlic powder, salt & pepper. (Add a little extra bread crumbs or a little of the sauce if mixture is too soggy or too dry...should be a relatively firm meatloaf consistency.)
Pre-heat oven to 375˚.
Pour a thin layer of sauce to cover the bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Place generous ½ cup of meat filling near the rib end of a cabbage leaf; roll toward the outer leaf, tucking in sides as you go. Place seam side down in baking dish. Continue until all meat mixture is rolled in leaves and placed in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over rolls. To retain moisture during cooking, spread remaining cabbage leaves over top of rolls. Cook 1 hour.
Stuffed Cabbage rolls -- and the extra sauce -- can be served with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.