Old-fashioned cabbage rolls

Les recettes secrètes de nos mères
200 mets réconfortants qui nous rappellent notre enfance
Magazine Coup de Pouce/Les Éditions Transcontinental
Published: Fall 2011

In the French section of this blog, I review the newest cookbook by magazine Coup de Pouce devoted to family homecooking Québec-style. Beyond the iconic dishes of our past, such as maple-flavoured baked beans, meat pies and pineapple-glazed roast ham, the editors explored the kind of everyday cuisine our Moms actually cooked, using such staples as Pillsbury dough for toads in a hole and Lipton soup for meatloaf.

For my English readers, I have limited myself to serving up the 4 recipes tested, and to great success I might add. This series will feature Cabbage Rolls, Mustard and Lemon Roasted Cauliflower, Vegetable and Beef Stew (chosen by my picky half) and Mac ‘n Cheese (selected by just-as-picky kiddo).

The most beautiful Savoy cabbage had been decorating my kitchen counter for over a week by the time I selected this recipe—an atypical choice for me since it requires over 3 1/2 hours from beginning to end. Who said cabbage rolls are family-friendly? Yikes. That said, the results were spectacularly savoury, although Monsieur hates cabbage and refused to go there, and kiddo dug through the rolls to better devour the stuffing. Cabbage gets such a bad rep, I swear. For once, I cheated and used only 1/4 cup of butter instead of the 2/3 cup suggested. Nope, even I can’t go there.

Adapted from:


  • 1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook cabbage around 15 minutes or until leaves start peeling off. Drain and let rest until cool enough to handle (not too much though or cabbage will toughen and become harder to roll, I find).
  • 2. In a pan, cook onions in butter until soft. Add rice and cook 3-5 minutes until covered in butter. Season with tomato paste, mint, paprika, lemon juice and zest.
  • 3. Add ground meat and brown over high heat until no longer pink. Season and let cool slightly.
  • 4. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  • 5. Detach cabbage leaves delicately. Stuff the smaller ones with 30 ml (2 tbsp) of rice stuffing, placed at the larger end, then rolled while folding the sides.
  • 6. In a large ovenproof dish oiled and lined with the larger cabbage leaves, fit in cabbage rolls. Cover with bacon, pour over tomato juice and sprinkle with sugar. Cover and cook in oven 2-3 hours.
  • 7. Serve with mashed potato, a winning combo!