Holubtsi – Cabbage Rolls

1 medium head of cabbage

1 1/2 cups white rice

1 small onion, chopped fine

3 slices bacon

3 Tbsp. butter

1 cup tomato juice or 1 can tomato soup

1 cup water

salt & pepper, to taste

Cut the core out of the cabbage. Put the cabbage in a pot of boiling water. Cover and leave  until the leaves begin to wilt. Turn the cabbage over and gently separate the leaves. Pull off and drain in a colander to cool. Trim off the central rib of the leaves. Cut any large leaves in half. Keep 4 or 5 large leaves.

Cook the rice until it is done and no water remains.

Fry the onions and bacon. Add half of the onions and bacon to the cooked rice. Add the butter. Stir all of this just until mixed.

Prepare a roaster or large oven-safe pan by laying the large cabbage leaves along the bottom of the pan.

Take one cabbage piece at a time in the palm of your hand. Put a spoonful of the rice mixture on each cabbage piece, roll up lightly and place it in the roaster on top of the cabbage leaves. Continue layering the rolls until the roaster is full.

Combine the water with the tomato juice/soup and pour over the rolls. Sprinkle the remaining fried onions and bacon on top. Cover the roaster with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at 350F. until the filling and the cabbage is cooked.

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