For years, the one part I dreaded when making this, whether it was on the stove or in the crock pot, was steaming the cabbage to soften the leaves for stuffing and rolling.
One Friday morning, one of our members mentioned she was making cabbage rolls the next day and had her cabbage defrosting. Defrosting?
It turns out that she freezes the head of cabbage. The night before stuffing and cooking, she thaws it out. The frozen, and now defrosted cabbage leaves, literally peel off almost by themselves. Gentle. Easy.
Nowadays, I do all the prep like this. The day before, late in the day, I take out the frozen head of cabbage. I place it in a plastic colander which I place in a pot that is big enough to hold it. This catches the moisture as it thaws. I put a lid over it. If I put it out before bed, or at least after supper, it is defrosted by the time I get up in the morning.
Also, on the day before, if my ground meat is frozen, I defrost that and keep it in the fridge until the next morning. I mostly use boil-in-bag rice to mix with the hamburg. So, I cook up a bag of that, too, and put it into a container.
The next morning, I mix the rice and meat. I pull off leaves and roll and secure. It is SO easy.
I just wish my Mom had known about this when she went through all that steaming-trouble for so many years.
I can't wait to smell these cooking in the crock pot tomorrow. I can almost taste them already!