Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls
3 cups short grain rice
6 cups water
3/4 cups margarine (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 can tomato soup
2 heads cabbage (boiled, sectioned, frozen and then thawed)
1/4 lb bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring 6 cups of water, 1/4 cup margarine, and your 3 cups of short grain rice to a boil and simmer until cooked. Keep your cooked rice in the large pot.
While your rice is cooking, brown your ground beef with 1/2 of your onion chopped.
Brown your bacon along with 1/4 of your onion chopped.
When your ground beef and onions are cooked, mix in with your white rice and set aside.
Mix your can of tomato soup with 1/2 cup water and set aside.
Melt 1/2 cup margarine (or butter) with your remaining 1/4 onion chopped.
Lay aluminum foil on the bottom of a large casserole dish and spoon one layer of your tomato soup, bacon and onion mixture.
Take a cabbage leaf (roughly the size of your hand) and lay it flat. Take a small spoonful of your rice and beef mixture and place it on the top 1/3 of the cabbage leaf. Begin to fold the edges over the rice/beef mixture. Shape and roll the cabbage leaf and rice/beef mixture to the bottom.Tuck in both edges of the cabbage roll. Place cabbage roll in your casserole dish. Continue to layer cabbage rolls into two layers in your casserole dish. In between the first and second layer, and on top of the second layer, add more tomato soup mixture along with bacon and onion.
Pour melted butter and onions over the two layers of cabbage rolls in the casserole dish.
Cover second layer with a few remaining cabbage leaves and place foil over top.
Bake in a 325 F oven on the middle rack for approximately 3 hours or until cabbage is soft.
Remove from oven and enjoy!

A note about boiling and freezing the cabbage heads: We find that when the cabbage leaves have been boiled then frozen and thawed, they are softer and a lot easier to roll than just boiling and cooling. We boil the whole cabbage head in a large pot for about a minute. We then peel the top layer off and discard. From there we take the leaves off layer by layer while the cabbage is still in the water. We cool the cabbage leaves on a cookie sheet and once cooled, roll some of the leaves together and freeze. When you are ready to make your cabbage rolls, take leaves out of the freezer and thaw on the counter. We prefer this method because you can buy cabbage when it is in season (summer for us here in Canada) and you can have it available all year round.
You can also freeze cabbage rolls and cook them at a later date. Place uncooked cabbage rolls on a baking pan lined with plastic wrap. Wrap thoroughly and freeze up to a few months.

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