Food & Drink

What make this family recipe for cabbage rolls so special

Hometown cooks share their recipes

Cabbage Rolls

Julaine Schexnayder’s Cabbage Rolls

Julaine Schexnayder, Jeanerette native and columnist for the Daily Iberian, loves researching her genealogy and learning more about her family’s past. One of the ways she keeps the memory of her beloved father, Earl Deare, alive by making his cabbage rolls.


2-1/2 lbs. ground chuck

1 small can tomato sauce

3 heads cabbage

1 can Rotel original recipe

2-1/2 cups uncooked, long grain rice

1 can stewed tomatoes

2 onions, chopped very fine

2 tsp. beef bouillon (Better than Bouillon recommended)

1 cup chopped cabbage for filling Cajun seasoning mix

6 cloves garlic, chopped finely

Oregano, fresh if possible

1 or 2 bay leaves, chopped

Ingredients for the Sauce

5 cups water

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 small can tomato sauce

1 bouillon cubes

Cajun seasoning

Fresh oregano chopped

1 or 2 bay leaves.


Sauté onions, garlic and 1 cup chopped cabbage in a little oil until soft. Pour into a bowl containing meat and rice. Add three kinds of tomatoes, bouillon, seasoning and oregano. Mix well with hands.

The cabbage: Blanch leaves in hot water. To remove tighter leaves in the head, cut out the core end with a paring knife. Immerse head in water. ( Remove loosened leaves.)

To assemble: Place a leaf on a chopping board. Using a meat tenderizer or the handle of a knife, mash the center (stem) portion of the leaf to make it malleable. Mold a small handful of the meat mixture into an oblong shape in the palm of the hand. Place on the base of the leaf (stem end) and begin to roll, turning in the sides/ends while rolling. Place seam side down in the bottom of a heavy, large pot, like a Magnalite roaster.

Finished roll should be about 3 to 4 inches wide by 1 to 2 inches thick.

The sauce: In a separate pot or bowl combine the ingredients for the sauce. Stir to combine and pour over the cabbage rolls in the larger pot. Cover tightly. Bring to a boil then lower heat to the lowest setting, cook for 1 1/2 hours until liquid is nearly all absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for some time to allow the juices to be absorbed.

Where did you get this recipe?

The recipe is from my father. Although it’s the same dish as my father’s, I use my own flair on ingredients, making the dish unique.

Who else makes it?

My sister, Mary Dean LeBlanc, also makes cabbage rolls, however, our recipes differ. They’re not the same. But that’s the fun of it! The main difference between our rolls is mine uses tomatoes and tomato sauce in my rolls.

What do you pair it with?

The dish is a traditional New Year’s holiday dish, so it is usually prepared with a protein. I recommended ham or other proteins, but the rolls are an entire meal on their own.

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