Microwave method: Remove a couple of outer leaves from the head of cabbage and discard; cut out the core of the cabbage with a sturdy chef's knife; wrap the cabbage with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes. You want the leaves to be softened but not cooked through.
Remove the plastic wrap and remove the softened outer leaves. Keep removing until you get to the tough/uncooked leaves, then wrap the cabbage again and microwave for another couple minutes until you're able to remove all leaves.
Boiling method: (use this method instead of microwaving method if preferred) - fill a large 8-quart pot with water to 2/3rds and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, remove the core of the cabbage, then remove a couple of outer leaves and discard. Add the cabbage to the boiling water and rotate it to keep it submerged to help soften the leaves from all sides. Using a large fork keep removing the leaves one by one as soon as they're soft and pliable until all leaves are removed. Typically it takes about 3-5 minutes of boiling the cabbage to get the first 5-6 leaves off, then you need to boil for another 3-5 minutes to get the next 4-5 leaves off. Repeat the process until all leaves are removed.
Remove the tough vein: Cut out the tough middle vein of the cabbage leaf by cutting it out.
Cut the large leaves in half, and then each half into halves again. Giving you 4 pieces. Each piece should be no bigger than the size of your palm. Prepare all the leaves and set aside.
Rinse 1.5 cups of shortgrain rice in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Add the rice to a medium sized pot, cover with 1.5 cups of hot boiling chicken broth, or 2 teaspoons of Better than Bouillion combined with 1.5 cups hot boiling water. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat until all water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Open the lid, fluff with a fork and allow to cool as you work on other ingredients.
Dice the onions and saute in a skillet with 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat until golden in color, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
Add 1 shredded carrot, stir, cover with lid and over low heat continue cooking, mixing several times throughout, for about 10 minutes. Allow to slightly cool.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl combine 1.5 lbs of ground chuck beef ( or turkey, chicken, or a combination of several of them), pre-cooked and cooled rice, sauteed vegetables, 1/2 Tbsp of kosher salt (use less if using table salt), 1 tsp of paprika, 2 tsp ground mustard, 1 tbsp chopped dill, 1/2 tsp dried garlic, 1 tsp black ground pepper, 1/2 tbsp dried green onion, or 2 chopped green onions and 1 tbsp of Johny's Garlic Spread seasoning (optional).
Using a spoon or a stand mixer mix everything together on low speed just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Layer the bottom of an 8 Qt Pressure Cooker pot or a 6 qt cast iron pot with large cabbage leaves, depending on your preference of cooking.
We will be adding the rolled cabbage rolls in layers into the pot. Do not fill beyond the "Fill" line of the pressure cooker pot, or 3/4 full of the cast iron pot.
Option ONE: Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the flaps from the right and left towards the middle. Then roll the roll away from yourself into a "burrito". Place in the pot seem side down.
Option TWO: Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll it into a tight roll. Now with your finger tuck the open ends towards the middle of the roll from both ends.
Option THREE: Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll the leaf into a cone. Now tuck the open end towards the middle with your finger.
Combine 1/2 Tbsp of Better than Bullion, 2 Tbsp of tomato paste, 1.5 cups of hot water, and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and stir until all ingredients are combined.
Pour the liquid over the rolled cabbage rolls. The liquid should come to just below the level of the top row of cabbage rolls.
Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of oil on top of the rolls. Place a couple of large cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage rolls, this will prevent the top layer of cabbage rolls from burning while cooking.
Preheat the oven to 300F with the rack in the middle.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil on a stove over medium heat. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake the cabbage rolls for about 1.5 – 2 hours over low-medium heat (about 280F - 300F), keeping the Cabbage Rolls at a constant low simmer and not a rapid boil until the cabbage leaves are soft, the rice is cooked through, most of the liquid is gone and the cabbage rolls are deep golden color.
Turn the Pressure cooker to "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" on "Low" for 35 minutes. After the time expires allow the pressure to naturally reduce for 15-20 minutes, then slowly open the steam valve and release the rest of the pressure. Open the lid.
When the cabbage rolls are ready, remove the top leaves and discard or enjoy them separately. Close the lid and shake the pot from side to side gently but confidently to loosen the cabbage rolls one from the other and to make it easier to get them out.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a spoon of the beet and horseradish root relish.
Each serving is about 8 cabbage rolls if served alone.
If serving with mashed potatoes, 1 serving is about 4 cabbage rolls.
When the cabbage rolls are ready, remove the top leaves and discard.Shake the pot from side to side gently but confidently to loosen the cabbage rolls one from the other and to make it easier to get them out. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a spoon of the beet and horseradish root relish.
Each serving is about 8 cabbage rolls.
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