Ingredients: 1 lb ground pork, 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb smoked bacon, 2 onions, one cabbage (brined or fresh), 1 lb fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce, thyme, dill, bay leaves.
Peel two onions, chop finely, and simmer in a tablespoon of oil in a covered saucepan until it becomes glassy. Add 2/3 cup of rice previously held a few minutes in cold water. Allow to simmer two minutes, stirring constantly. Add a spoonful of tomato paste and let simmer for another two minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
Chop half a pound of smoked bacon, set aside.
Prepare the cabbage leaves. Detach the cabbage leaves one at a time, remove the thick rib. If you have brined cabbage, the leaves might be too salty. If so, dip in water to remove some salt. Also be careful not to add to much salt to the ground meat. If you have fresh cabbage, then bring water to boil in pot. Take a few leaves at a time and dip for a few seconds in boiling water just to soften them.
Now prepare the meat mixture. Mix in a large bowl one lb ground pork and one lb ground beef. Add 1/4 tsp ground pepper, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, finely chopped dill. Add the cooled mixture of onion and rice. Add salt. Mix well.
You might check the taste by frying about one spoonful of the mixture flattened in a small pan. Add salt or any of the spices mentioned as needed.
Once you have prepared the meat mixture, place a cabbage sheet in your palm, place a heaping spoonful of meat in the middle of the leaf. Roll the cabbage leave around the meat, fold the ends inside. Make sure the meat is packed inside the leaf.
Prepare the cookware in which to cook the stuffed cabbage leaves. Best option is an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Add a Tbsp of oil, layer with a couple of cabbage leaves to cover the bottom. Add a thin layer of chopped cabbage and a couple of bay leaves. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of tomato sauce. For a great taste add a handful of chopped smoked bacon. You can use ripe tomato slices instead of tomato sauce.
Place the cabbage rolls next to each other to complete a layer. Add a thin layer of chopped cabbage, tomato sauce and chopped smoked bacon.
Place a second layer of cabbage rolls, add the chopped cabbage, tomato sauce and chopped smoked bacon. Pour water to cover the first row of cabbage rolls. Cover. Simmer for half an hour on the stove. Remove the lid and place in the oven at 325 degrees F for about two hours. Check to make sure there is still about one inch of liquid in the pot. Add water or tomato juice if necessary.
Serve warm. You can top the stuffed cabbage rolls with a mound of sour cream.
The cabbage rolls can be made in larger quantities and frozen in small batches for later use. A good way for single moms to save time with cooking.