Cabbage wrapped beef. Amazing! Living in Seattle it’s hard to remember that it is winter! And especially since the weather has been incredibly mild, even for Seattle. But, if you are cold and need to warm your soul, have some Krautwickel. We love eating cabbage in Germany! And this traditional recipe sports a hearty meat filling, a healthy cabbage wrap and a luscious tomato based sauce.  

I used to wish we had a dog but only had a cat. As a child I could not appreciate the cabbage wrapped around the beef and needed a helper under the table. Alas, cats never have your back when it’s time to destroy the evidence.

My kids love Krautwickel. The dog is going hungry.

  • one green cabbage
  • 1.5 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 large handfuls of dried bread (about 2 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • half a bunch of parsley
  • 2 onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoon of whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • 2.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of goose schmalz or leaf lard
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of homemade or low sodium stock
  • toothpicks
  • a little flour or cornstarch if desired

Soak the dried bread in water for about 10 minutes until really soft. Finely mince the onions, the garlic and the parsley.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the egg, the parsley, one of the minced onions, the garlic, cumin, mustard and salt. Squeeze as much of the water out of the bread as possible and add it to the beef mixture. I always fry a small amount of my filling so I can taste it to make sure that my seasoning is correct.

Cut the stem off the cabbage and carefully separate the leaves. You will need about 12 leaves. Briefly blanch the cabbage leaves in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water to soften them, which makes them easier to work with.

Lay the cabbage leave flat on on your work surface and cut out the tough center vain of the leave or shave it thin with a sharp knife. Place about two heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the leave. Roll up the leave, tucking in the sides. Use toothpicks to secure the wrap. 

Use a heavy cast iron casserole or dutch oven that has a lid. Melt 2 tablespoons of the goose schmalz and work in batches to brown each cabbage wrap from all sides on medium high heat. Remove all of the cabbage wraps from the casserole, add the remaining goose fat or lard and the second minced onion. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato paste and the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the cabbage rolls back into the casserole or dutch oven, cover with the lid and reduce to heat to low. Braise for about 40 minutes, turning the cabbage wraps once.

Remove the cabbage rolls from the casserole and strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to thicken the sauce or use a litte bit of flour or cornstarch if desired. 

Serve with potatoes or mashed potatoes.