Many recipes that I have come across in the last couple of years of making cabbage rolls vary just a tiny bit on the ingredients that are utilized. You can use ground beef, veal, Italian sausage. I am guessing you could use game meat too like venison. I haven't personally tried making them with venison but I wouldn't mind giving it a try if I got my hands on some.
There are many ways you can cook them too. You can put them in a crock pot, simmer on the stove, or you could bake them. I prefer to bake them.
Below is my basic recipe for making cabbage rolls.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
1 head of Savoy Cabbage
2 lbs of ground meat (I use Italian Sausage)
1/2 c. of uncooked instant white rice
1/4 c bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 medium finely diced onion
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper (freshly ground)
2 large eggs slightly beaten
1 - 2 jars of your favorite Tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Remove the entire core of the cabbage. A paring knife does a good job of this. Immerse the head of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes, peeling off each leaf with tongs as soon as it s flexible. Set the leaves aside. You will need at least 14 leaves depending on their size.
In a large bowl you will make the filling. Combine the ground meat, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, rice, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper.
If you want your rolls to have more of a tomato taste you can add 1 cup of the tomato sauce to the meat mixture and mix lightly with a fork. I don't do this regularly , but it does help if your meat mixture appears to be a bit drier than normal as well.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish (or crock pot if you decide to go that route of cooking).
Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf using that handy paring knife. Place 1/3 cup of filling in an oval shape (small cigar shape) near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll (kind of like a burrito). Place half the cabbage rolls, seam sides down, over the sauce. Add more sauce and more cabbage rolls alternately until you have placed all the cabbage rolls in the baking dish or crockpot. Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover the dish with foil or just put the lid on your crock pot and bake for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender. If using crock pot, cook on low for 6-7 hour. Internal temp should be 160 degrees F. Serve hot.
I must confess, I find these very addictive.