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Meat, Pine Nut and Pearled Barley Stuffed Cabbage

What to do with a large head of cabbage... Definitely stuff it!  This delicious version combines your favorite ground meat, fresh tomatoes, onions, pine nuts and pearled barley.  Baked in a light tomato based sauce, the flavors in this casserole combine for one flavorful bite after another.  
"Perled barley and pine nuts are a great addition to this filling!"
"Fabulous flavor"



INGREDIENTS:
1 cabbage head

Filling:
1 1/2 cup pearled barley
1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb)
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. oregano
1 Tbs. basil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups water
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/4 cup fresh parsley

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Sauce:
1.     In a large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil until softened; about 8 minutes.

2.     Add garlic and sauté for a minute longer.

3.     Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.  Bring to a boil.

4.     Reduce heat; add oregano, thyme and parsley.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.


Cabbage:
1.     Place the cabbage head in a large stockpot; fill with water to cover cabbage.

2.     Bring water to a low boil.  Using tongs, remove cabbage leaves from the pot as they separate from the head.  Continue until the majority of the leaves have separated.  Remove remaining cabbage core and set aside.

3.     Lay each cabbage leaf, stem side up, on a cutting board and carefully slice off the raised portion of the stem.  This will enable easier rolling.  Be sure not to cut through the leaf.

Filling:
1.     In a large bowl combine pearled barley, meat, onion, pine nuts and mushrooms.  Mix well.

2.     Add tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, oregano and basil.  Mix well.

3.     Spoon a generous portion of the filling into the center of a cabbage leaf.  Be sure to leave 1 1/2”+ on each side and 2"+ at the top (the filling will expand).  Fold in both sides over the filling; then start at the stem and roll the leaf towards the top.

4.     Repeat until all the filling has been used.

5.     Chopped the unused leaves and spread them in the bottom of a large baking dish.

6.     Place the cabbage rolls in the dish.

7.     Pour the sauce over the rolls, cover and bake for 35-40 minutes.


8.     Serve and enjoy!

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