Are you familiar with Prakas? Prakas is what my family has always called Stuffed Cabbage. It is an Eastern European dish that spans many ethnic cuisines and this version is based on my mom’s traditional Jewish Stuffed Cabbage Recipe aka “Prakas”.
I was wondering a bit about the name Prakas and after Googling it a bit, came across this fascinating article that asserts that calling stuffed cabbage “Prakas” originated in Yiddish speaking Jews who lived exclusively in Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD.
That fits as my entire family is pretty much from Philadelphia, PA (after immigrating from various places in Eastern Europe a couple of generations ago).
Just like chicken soup, there are countless versions and variations on stuffed cabbage, this version is made with only clean ingredients and based on the one my mom grew up eating. I hope you love it!
What does your family call Stuffed Cabbage?
- Sour Salt is essentially Citric Acid. If you can’t find it, substitute 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar.
- I used some cheesecloth and a silicone rubber band to make a “raisin packet” because that is what I had on hand. I also like to use these spice bags. I would NOT recommend a metal tea ball as the metal might react with the acid in the tomatoes and change the taste of the sauce.
- For those of you calculating Points Plus, these are 8 PP Each. If you don’t count vegetables (cabbage, onion, tomatoes, etc.), they are a bit less but the eTools Recipe Calculator adds in PP for those things when they are in a recipe.
- These freeze really well (covered in sauce) and are easy to reheat in the oven (325F till warmed through) or on the stove top (medium low light till warmed through).
- This batch makes approximately 16 Prakas which sounds like a lot but my husband can easily eat 2 or 3 at one sitting so figure 2 Per Person. I like to eat one with a huge salad and another side of vegetables.
- 2 large heads green cabbage (about 2 pounds each), cores removed and blanched
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- ½ medium lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup raisins, wrapped in cheesecloth (see NOTES)
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons sour salt (see NOTES for substitution)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2¼ pounds lean ground beef
- ¾ cup uncooked white basmati rice
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Put a very large pot of unsalted water on to boil. Use a paring knife to gently remove the core of the cabbage. This is easiest if you make a couple of slices around the core and then nudge it out with a butter knife or spoon. Take care not to damage or rip the leaves as you need them while for wrapping the Prakas.
- Finely chop yellow onion for both the sauce and meat mixture (I used the food processor to save time!)
- Place raisins in cheesecloth and secure with twine or a silicone rubber band.
- Measure rice, palm sugar, parsley, kosher salt, sour salt and black pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, uncooked rice, ½ cup onion, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix until ingredients are incorporated.
- Once water is boiling, use a large slotted spoon or "spider strainer" to dunk the cabbage for 15 seconds at a time.
- Remove cabbage to a baking sheet or other large tray and gently peel off outer leaves. If you get resistance, dunk the cabbage back in the boiling water for another 15 seconds and try again. Repeat this until all the leaves are off. Take care not to rip any leaves and set aside the very small inner leaves for sauteing, stir-fry or another use.
- Grab a paring knife and gently shave the outer rib off of each leaf, taking care not to slice through. You just want to take enough off so that the leaves are easy to roll. It's very similar to the technique I used here for collard greens.
- Heat a large (oven safe) dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and then 1½ cups finely chopped onion along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, until onions are soft and starting to brown.
- Add tomatoes, juice from ½ lemon, palm sugar, kosher salt, sour salt, black pepper and raisin pouch.
- Bring to a boil, cover, lower to a simmer and leave simmering while you begin stuffing the cabbage leaves.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Place one cabbage leaf on a flat surface and measure ⅓ cup of the ground beef mixture out.
- Fold up the bottom, pushing the beef mixture down and making somewhat of a tight "packet". Next, fold each side down and then roll the cabbage closed.
- Some leaves will be short enough that they will just sit underneath the cabbage roll and others will be too long and need to be tucked in.
- Repeat until all of the meat mixture is gone. You should have approximately (depending on size of cabbage leaves) 16 cabbage rolls.
- Gently place each cabbage roll in sauce, try to keep the seams on the bottom and make sure they are all submerged in the sauce so they cook evenly.
- Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes. Remove from oven, remove raisin packet, adjust salt and pepper if necessary, serve and Enjoy!