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Cabbage Rolls

These are a great meal for a cold night. They take a bit of work and they are a hard sell for kids but they are really satisfying and kids don't know anything anyway. I like to get my aromatics going in a bit of bacon grease to add another flavour into the mix of the sauce. I also like to garnish with a little feta cheese both for the saltiness and the colour. In the pic above I may have gone a little cabbage crazy as there is shredded cabbage in the salad as well. The reason for this is that as you get going here, you'll quickly realize that a full head of cabbage is quite a bit, so you'll need a backup plan for the leftover.  

Gather the Good Stuff

  1. 1 head of cabbage - immediate outer layers removed 
  2. 500g ground pork 
  3. 3-4 strips of bacon - diced into small pieces 
  4. 1 egg 
  5. 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
  6. 1 each - carrot, celery stick, onion - diced 
  7. 3 green onions - diced 
  8. Garlic to taste - 2 - 3 cloves 
  9. 1/2 - 1 tsp nutmeg 
  10. 1 cup chicken stock 
  11. 100-200g Feta cheese
  12. 1 cup cooked white rice  
  13. Salt & Pepper to taste 

Putting it all Together

1. Fill a large heavy pot of water half filled and bring to a boil. The pot needs to be large enough to hold your head of cabbage. Also get the oven heated to 160C / 320F 
2. Cut the core our of your head of cabbage and discard
3. When boiled add the entire head of cabbage to the pot and allow to boil for 8 minutes turning once
4. After 8 minutes remove the head of cabbage and set aside to cool for 5 -10 minutes
5. Meanwhile mix your pork, green onions, nutmeg, egg, rice in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a fork. Add salt and pepper as desired. Optionally here you can also add Parmesan cheese / feta cheese 
6. Heat your heavy pot again with a little bit of vegetable oil over medium heat 
7. When hot fry your bacon pieces until the fat has rendered and the pieces are crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve most of the fat in the pan. If there is too much, drain some off, but not all 
8. Add aromatics to the pot and fry in the bacon fat for at least 10 -15 minutes until well softened. Add garlic and fry for another 2 minutes 
9. Meanwhile peel off 8-12 outer leaves from your cabbage head and reserve for filling 
10. Evenly fill the cabbage leaves with your meat / rice mixture and roll tightly 
11. Make sure you are stirring the aromatics every so often. After the garlic has become fragrant add the 1 cup chicken stock to deglaze the pan 
12. Add crushed tomatoes to the vegetable mixture and stir well. Season well with salt and pepper 
13. Gentle nestle your cabbage rolls into one layer into the tomato / veggies mix in the pot 
14. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer 

15. Cover and place in the oven for 1.5 hours 
16. There's a lot of moisture in there so you may need to remove the rolls and boil the sauce down a tad if it's cooked through but too soup. Ideally it should be thickened up when it come out of the oven
17. Transfer rolls to a serving platter and garnish with Feta cheese and parsley 


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