Unconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

This stew has all the flavors of cabbage rolls—right down to the citric acid and ginger snap cookies used by my western-Pennsylvania grandmother—but none of the fuss associated with steaming a head of cabbage, removing the leaves, and forming the actual rolls.


  • pounds (1.2 kg) ground beef
  • 1 (28-ounce/794-g) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 8 ginger snap cookies
  • ½ head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1½-inch (4-cm) chunks
  • 2 cups (370 g) long-grain white rice



In a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the beef over medium-high heat, stirring to break it up, until most of the pink is gone, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour off any liquid and transfer the beef to the slow cooker; stir in the tomatoes, citric acid, teaspoons salt, and plenty of pepper.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the oil, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in ½ cup (120 ml) water and scrape up any browned bits, then stir the onion and liquid into the beef mixture. Add the cookies, put the cabbage on top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Put the rice in a sieve and rinse very well under running water. Dump into a 2-quart (2-L) saucepan and add cups (540 ml) water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once to unstick any grains from the bottom of the pan, then cover and cook over the lowest heat for 14 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Let stand, covered, for 3 minutes, then fluff with a fork or spatula.

Stir the cabbage and beef mixture, season with more salt and pepper, if needed, and serve over the rice.