Unstuff your cabbage casserole for flavor without the work

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Stuffed cabbage can be a bit finicky to make, but the flavors are just as easy to harness in this "unstuffed" cabbage casserole. The recipe below pairs tender leaves of braised cabbage with a slightly sweet-and-sour tomato sauce. Cooked kasha ⁠— toasted buckwheat groats common in Poland ⁠— add heft to the dish, while ground beef adds protein and flavor. If you can't find buckwheat groats you can use another grain like pearled barley or farro.
When preparing the cabbage, be sure to remove the hard core, which won't cook at the same pace as the cabbage leaves. Boiling the leaves before adding them to the casserole won't just cut down on their slightly sulfurous aroma; it will also help them become soft and tender in the oven.
Cooktop Cove
Unstuffed cabbage casserole
15 minutes
1 hour
1 hour 15 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups tomato passata
3/4 cup buckwheat groats (kasha) (or other hearty grain).
1 green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the butter in a skillet over high heat and add the beef. Season with salt and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the pan, and cook until tender and slightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic, brown sugar, and tomato paste, and cook until just fragrant ⁠ about 1 minute. Add your grain of choice, stir to combine, add the beef, the passata and 1 cup of water. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.
Toss the beef and tomato mixture, cabbage, and kasha together. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
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