So...let's get down to business on what I affectionally call 'rolling the pigs!' Don't let the directions overwhelm you, once you do this once it's easy! This whole process below took me about 30min total and I have a kettle of pigs on the stove right now!!!
These are approximate measurements, use your judgement to your tastes, this is an old German recipe, which often omitted exact measurements.
You will need
Package of ground pork
2 packages of ground beef---you can use all beef if you want, your call!
handful of rice
1-2 heads of cabbage
One container, or two of sauerkraut (if you love it like I do, and tend to eat too much out of the can while you are cooking) NOTE: I have to say I used to be pretty partial to Frank's brand, green can, but have recently discovered this one http://www.hoganvillefamilyfarms.com/ and not sure I can look back!! I do NOT use sauerkraut that contains caraway seeds, check your ingredient list, this is shocking if you aren't expecting it to say the least.
1-2 cans of kraut juice if you are lucky enough to have it in your store, we don't here in TN, so I opt for water (insert sad face, but it works).
Start a pot (big enough for your cabbage head) of boiling water on the stove. I make it about 1/4 full of water. While waiting for it to boil, cut off the bottom/stem of the cabbage. You can core it if you want, that takes too much time for me. I just plop it core side down into the boiling water. Your goal is to loosen the leaves enough they don't tear when you remove them. I will often be able to remove 2-3 leaves without tearing after about 4-5 minutes, replace lid, after I am done rolling (insturctions below) I retrieve a few more leaves and continue that cycle until all the meat is gone.
In a large mixing bowl, with your hands, mix the meat together. Don't over work it, just until it's combined. Pour in the rice, this is used as a binding agent, so if you have alot of meat you might want two handfuls, your call. I use about 1 1/2 handfuls for 3-4lbs of meat. Sprinkle some black pepper (about 1/2-3/4 tsp), add garlic powder (I would guesstimate I used about 1/2 tsp for my meat today, 3-4lbs), add salt (about 1tsp) and mix well.
Remove a few cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage, lay aside to cool, replace lid so it steams the next layer. Form a small-medium handful of meat mixture into an elongated meatball. Lay on the 'core side' of the cabbage leave, roll leaf, ensuring you are also wrapping side in to create a 'pocket' for the meatball. Secure with a toothpick.
Pictured is my first layer of pigs, atop a small amount of saukerkraut and water
When reheating from the freezer, I allow to thaw in the fridge (okay on the counter, you caught me) until thawed and place in a shallow baking dish, cover with an 8oz can of tomato sauce and reheat in a 350degree oven until heated through about 30-45minutes.
My favorite way to serve these is with MORE sauerkraut, I can't get enough of sauerkraut, some mac and cheese on the side and viola...dinner is served!
As my kids break it down: the meat is the protein, the 'kraut and cabbage the vegetable and the rice inside the starch, truly a one bowl meal, but my mom always added mac n' cheese on the side so I do too!