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Pork Cabbage Rolls

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Recipes from a year ago:

I honestly have no idea what caused me to think about making cabbage rolls the other night for dinner – except maybe the fact we had an extra head of cabbage and some ground pork in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.  I don’t really recall ever having them as a kid, nor do I think I’ve ever had them as an adult.  Nevertheless, I set out to come up with a way to turn these two simple ingredients into a hearty meal.  The results were great, and sure to be on the menu again in the future.

Gather Up:

  • 1 medium head cabbage (or just about 10 large outer leaves, if you can get them off without tearing)
  • 1 lb ground pork (not sausage)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned thin
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp no-salt seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pint home-canned tomatoes with liquid (you can use stewed in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1~2 tbsp coconut oil (not pictured)

Fill a large stock pot with enough water to submerge the head of cabbage and turn on high.  If you’ve got leaves removed from the head, you just need enough water to submerge the leaves.  In a heavy saute pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees about now as well.

Get your veggies cut up – onion, shallot, and garlic together, then mushrooms and carrots both separated.

Use a paring knife to core the stem out of the base of the cabbage.  When the water comes to a boil, carefully drop the head into the boiling water and cover.  Cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, then drain and let sit too cool.  If you are using leaves, cook them for about 1 minute only, then drain and let cool.  Either way, you will see the leaves are wilted and translucent when they are cooked, and will easily pull off the head without tearing.

In the pan of melted coconut oil, saute the garlic, shallot, and onion for about 3 minutes until they start to soften.  Add the mushrooms, with additional oil if needed to keep from sticking, and cook until they soften as well.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spices, ground pork, egg, and sauteed vegetables.  Mix with your hands and work until everything is well distributed.

Set one of the wilted leaves of cabbage onto a clean work surface and place a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup or so) of the meat mixture on the thick end of the leaf.  Add a few julienned carrots, then fold in the sides of the leaf and roll it tightly to form a roll.

Place the roll into a 13×9 baking dish, and continue with the remaining leaves until all of the meat mixture is used up and the baking dish is full (I ended up with eight).  In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato liquid, and chicken broth.  Mash the tomatoes with a fork and mix everything well, then pour over top the cabbage rolls in the baking dish, keeping the tomatoes on top of the rolls as much as possible.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a quick-read thermometer inserted into the center of one of the rolls reads 160 degrees.  Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.  Dig in – these were excellent!

Pork Cabbage Rolls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head cabbage (or just about 10 large outer leaves, if you can get them off without tearing)
  • 1 lb ground pork (not sausage)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned thin
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp no-salt seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 pint home-canned tomatoes with liquid (you can use stewed in a pinch)
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1~2 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Fill a large stock pot with enough water to submerge the head of cabbage and turn on high. If you've got leaves removed from the head, you just need enough water to submerge the leaves.
  2. In a heavy saute pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees about now as well.
  3. Get your veggies cut up – onion, shallot, and garlic together, then mushrooms and carrots both separated.
  4. Use a paring knife to core the stem out of the base of the cabbage. When the water comes to a boil, carefully drop the head into the boiling water and cover. Cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, then drain and let sit too cool. If you are using leaves, cook them for about 1 minute only, then drain and let cool. Either way, you will see the leaves are wilted and translucent when they are cooked, and will easily pull off the head without tearing.
  5. In the pan of melted coconut oil, saute the garlic, shallot, and onion for about 3 minutes until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms, with additional oil if needed to keep from sticking, and cook until they soften as well. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spices, ground pork, egg, and sauteed vegetables. Mix with your hands and work until everything is well distributed.
  7. Set one of the wilted leaves of cabbage onto a clean work surface and place a large spoonful (about ¼ cup or so) of the meat mixture on the thick end of the leaf. Add a few julienned carrots, then fold in the sides of the leaf and roll it tightly to form a roll.
  8. Place the roll into a 13×9 baking dish, and continue with the remaining leaves until all of the meat mixture is used up and the baking dish is full (I ended up with eight). In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato liquid, and chicken broth. Mash the tomatoes with a fork and mix everything well, then pour over top the cabbage rolls in the baking dish, keeping the tomatoes on top of the rolls as much as possible.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a quick-read thermometer inserted into the center of one of the rolls reads 160 degrees. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.