With the return of cold weather, Philip and I find ourselves gravitating back into the kitchen and craving dishes that are made together in the oven or over the stove. It takes us back to the beginning of our relationship where I’d collect heat in front of the pot boiling on the stove, stirring to keep myself warm as Philip gathered and prepped ingredients. It’s this exact moment where I was honoured the title of sous chef in our kitchen, and am reminded as I warm up and stir Cabbage Roll Stew atop the stove.
Hearty and comforting with notes of sweet and sour, our Cabbage Roll Stew holds true to its Polish flavour of beef mixed with rice, rolled in a cabbage leaf and baked until tender. But unlike traditional cabbage rolls, this stew requires no prepping of the meat mixture, no rolling and no baking. Created on a base of smokey and salty bacon, flavours of mirepoix, cabbage, and ground beef stew in a rich tomato sauce with splashes of tangy Worcestershire and cider vinegar before adding in brown rice.
The best thing about this soup, aside from eating it of course, is the scent of cabbage rolls singing from the pot of stew as it simmers and melds into the ultimate one pot and leave fall dish. Another thing we love about this cabbage roll stew is its ability to handle substitutions and swaps for all diners. Swapping ground beef for lentils, or brown rice for grated cauliflower or zucchini – the versatility of endless and the results are simply the same, the delicious taste of cabbage rolls without all the work.
Chef Sous ChefPrint
Beef & Bacon Cabbage Roll Stew
This Cabbage Roll Stew is the perfect accompaniment to any cold day. It’s hearty and comforting with notes of sweet and sour that awaken your senses. The smoke and saltiness of the bacon are complemented by the sweetness of cabbage and tart of the cider vinegar. Brown rice ensures that this stew will keep you full for hours.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 90 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Category: Soup
- 3 slices bacon
- 300g ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cups green cabbage
- 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes (796ml/28oz)
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ cup brown rice
No. 1 | Preheat a large pot on medium heat. Cook the bacon until brown and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Saute with the bacon for 5 minutes, until tender. Add the ground beef breaking chunks off and spreading around the pan. Stir in the paprika and allspice and allow to cook for a few minutes until the meat is well coated and just starting to brown.
No. 2 | Add the cabbage to the meat and combine. Pour in the cider vinegar and the Worcestershire sauce the give the mixture a good mix. Add the tomatoes, stir, then pour in the beef stock. Crank the heat to high and bring the stew to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
No. 3 | Once you are about an hour from serving, remove the lid and stir in the brown rice. Cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes. Sprinkle in ¾ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
You can have this soup on the table in an hour, but the longer you can let the stew simmer, the better. Swap out the beef for pork, turkey, or your favourite sausage meat. You can make it vegan by replacing the bacon and beef with lentils and the Worcestershire sauce with extra cider vinegar.