I have another recipe for you today - stuffed cabbage rolls. These rolls can be stuffed with any ingredient that takes your fancy. I used pork belly, quinoa and vegetables, it could just as easily have been beef mince (ground beef), brown rice and vegetables or a vegetarian version with rice and vegetables. You could use kale or silverbeet (chard) leaves instead of cabbage. Use what you have on hand and what you know your family will enjoy. This is one of those recipes that can be adapted easily and may just become a family favouite. If you get the stuffing right, you'll be making this meal for many years to come.
I used quinoa in these cabbage rolls, though I usually make it with brown rice. I have to tell you the quinoa was not as tasty as the rice, it was okay, but I won't use it again in this dish. The nutty taste of brown rice goes extremely well with the hearty flavours of the cabbage and vegetables. Also, I generally use minced pork that I buy at the butcher, however, I had some pork belly in the freezer that was pretty tough and I didn't want to roast it. I trimmed off the fat, put it through the food processor and got some nice lean mince. But as I say, use whatever your family likes or what you have on hand.
This is what I used:
- About ¾ of a whole cabbage
- Half kilo pork mince (one pound ground pork)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped
- salt and pepper
- tablespoon paprika
- 1½ cups cooked quinoa or brown rice
- handful of parsley, chopped
Take the core out of the cabbage and carefully remove the leaves without breaking them. You'll need about 12 full leaves. Fill up a frying pan with hot water, bring to the boil, place the cabbage leaves in the boiling water and leave for a few minutes. You want them to be wilted but still green. Remove the cabbage, place on a plate to drain and put to one side.
Brown the pork mince in a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. Make sure it takes on a lot of brown colour without burning, this is what adds flavour to the dish.
Add the vegetables and spices then add the quinoa to the meat and vegetables, mix and stir well. Keep the pan on the stove, you'll use it again to cook the stuffed rolls.
Now it's time to fill the cabbage leaves. Take one of the cooled wilted leaves and place two heaped tablespoons of the stuffing on the leaf. Turn the sides in first, then roll it up fairly tightly. They won't need to be secured with toothpicks or string, they will stay firmly rolled as long as you're gentle with them.
When all the leaves are rolled, make a light gravy in the same frying pan the meat and vegetables were cooked in. To do this add 2 tablespoons plain flour, salt and pepper and brown this in the frying pan. If you need to add a little bit more olive oil, do it. The flour should not be dry, it should be like a thin paste. When this is brown, add two cups of cold water and stir well. Bring to the boil, making sure you scrape all the brown bits off the pan - these add a lot of flavour.
Place all the rolls in this gravy, put the lid on the pan and simmer in the oven or on the stove top for 15 minutes.
Serve with steamed potatoes, carrots and pumpkin and the gravy.
There will probably be stuffing left over. If so, it's delicious the next day for lunch wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf.
I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe; it's a good one for cold nights. The trick to this, and most recipes, is to modify it to suit your taste, what you have growing in the backyard and what you have in the fridge.