Panhandle Cabbage Rolls

The pastry was ugly, but my venison Wellington was a unique and wonderful Christmas dinner.

Panhandle Cabbage Rolls.

60-75 minute preparation time.
Bake at 350F for 75 minutes.


1 head green cabbage (I do not recommend red cabbage as it is tougher to cook)


  • 1 lb ground meat (turkey, beef, or pork)
  • 1-2 cups fried, chopped bacon, *reserve grease
  • 1 cup diced onion*
  • 2 cups diced potato*
  • *Fry onion and potato in bacon grease.
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs liquid smoke (I use Wright’s Hickory)

Spices – grind in mortar and reserve 2 tsp for the sauce:

  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp mustard seed (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tarragon


  • Tomato sauce 12 ounce can
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp spice mix

Cabbage preparation:

Each cabbage leaf attaches to the stalk with a thick, center vein. Core the cabbage so all leaves are free from the stalk. The core is generally a 2 to 4 inch long cone taken out of the base of the cabbage.
Place the cored head of cabbage in a pot of water deep enough to submerge it and bring to a boil. As the leaves boil, they will soften and began falling away from the head. As they come loose, tease them away and remove them from the water one at a time, exposing the next layer. Stack the leaves from large to small on a plate. Do this until the remaining head is just larger than a baseball.
Once the leaves have cooled, remove the thick, stalk-like portion of the center vein, typically 1 to 4 inches. This allows the leaves to flatten into 2 wings. Your new stack of leaves should have the smallest on the bottom and the largest on the top.


Mix all of the filling ingredients together with spices.
Take a portion of filling large enough to fill one side of the cabbage leaf, usually 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup, depending on the leaf size. Use the largest leaves first.
Fold the second side of the cabbage leaf over onto the first, tuck the edges, making a wrap.
Place cabbage rolls in a non-greased 9X13 baking dish. A medium-sized cabbage should fill the pan with a few leftover small leaves. Pan size depends on how much meat you put in a roll. If you need a bit smaller pan or larger pan, it is nothing to fret about.
Gently press the surface of the rolls in the pan to smooth them and remove gaps.
Cover smoothly with the sauce.
Place in a preheated oven at 350F and bake for 75 minutes.

*A note about leftovers: Cooked cabbage leaves are not the greatest thing in the world after a day or two in the refrigerator. Remove them and toss them. The meat inside makes wonderful meatloaf sandwiches.

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