Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cabbage Roll Casserole

When I was a kid the one thing that always excited me the most, was Mom's Cabbage Rolls.  I LOVED cabbage as a child, and when you throw in a few extra ingredients You get an amazing yummy and relatively healthy dish.  The one thing I was NOT fond of though was the time it took to make the meat mixture, roll them into 'turds' as my mom and I lovingly called them, and roll each one up in a cabbage leave.  And there was never enough of the cabbage for this crazy girl.  So, in an effort to save time, I broke down the recipe into two parts and created a cassarole. Enjoy this holiday tradition from my family to yours.

1 1/2 lbs Ground Pork
1 cup rices (soaked over night or for at least 4 hours)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you want)
Salt and Pepper
1 or 2 heads of cabbage (depending on how obsessed with cabbage you are)
1/2 cup of water

Preheat oven to 350

In a large pot, fill bottom with 1/2 inch of water or so, and place steam basket on bottom.  cover and bring water to simmer over low heat.  Take the cabbage and cut it up in to bite size pieces(not too small).  Place in pot sprinkle with salt and steam until they are almost done, but still have good shape.  I find color is the best indication, you still want them to be a bright green, but tender. Remove from heat when complete and place on counter near the baking dish you intend to use.

While the Cabbage is steaming Turn to the meat filling:

Drain the rice, and sprinkle the cinnamon over the rice and stir, add salt and pepper to taste, and then add the pork. Blend well so that the rice is evenly distributed thorough out the pork.

Take mixture and make small meat balls, I used a 1/2 tablespoon measure to get the right size. About this time the Cabbage will be complete.

In baking dish, layer cabbage on bottom, then take the port meat balls and place them about a finger widths apart in the bed of cabbage (you need that space, or the meat will cook together and make it difficult to remove from dish upon serving). Layer another bed of cabbage, and another of meat balls.  Do this until dish is full, last layer should be cabbage.  Once this is done, add 1/2 cup of water and place in oven for 1 hour.

I always find this makes more than will fit in my 2 qt dish, and like to make smaller servings for later those I bake for 30-45 minutes depening on size of dish (one of these smaller dishes is what I have picture)

I even find that I have some meat balls left over (I used one head of cabbage this year)  so I place the prepared meat balls in the freezer for later use.

I hope you enjoy trying this dish out.

-if you switch out the pork for quinoa cooked in beef broth with a bit of butter added it is just as good. and healthier