Cabbage Rolls or Stuffed Peppers

Pantry Food Rolled into Comfort Food

Pork Rolls in a Chinese Broccoli Leaf [or just about any leaf]

Common pantry items and produce are fashioned into rolls or stuffed or wrapped delights almost anywhere in world cultures. They come in any variety of shapes, fillings, and casings.

I grew up eating mom’s stuffed peppers. It was okay, but didn’t totally satisfy—it felt more like a veggie side instead of a main course. The flavors and texture seemed too watery.

Not anymore! Plus, stuffing veggies is a lot easier than stuffing a turkey or other meat rollups. The results for this recipe are lush, almost like warm Greek grape leaf dolmas or Chinese dumplings.

Cabbage leaves are traditional wrappers; enjoy using green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage, collards, or I tried and love Chinese broccoli leaves [gai pan]. Just poach the leaves and prepare the stuffing; roll them and poach in a stock.

Pressure Cooked 6 Minutes in a Cup of Water, Then Cut Out Thick Stems

SERVES: 4-5

INGREDIENTS: For a meatless version, use tempeh that is ground and seasoned. If stuffing bell peppers, use 4 to 6 medium peppers

Cabbage types to consider: green or red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Gai Lan leaves [Chinese Broccolini] and Collards

  • cabbage* – plan on 2 rolls per diner
  • pork, ground – 1/2 LB or any ground meat of choice
  • rice, white – 3/4 cup
  • egg – 1 beaten
  • scallions – 4, minced
  • cabbage – 1 cup, minced [from unused part of cabbage]
  • garlic – 4 cloves, peeled
  • ginger – 2 TBS, grated
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • chili flakes – 1/4 tsp
  • soy sauce – 2 TBS, or 1 TBS soy sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce
  • chicken stock – 2 cups, or other stock
  • toasted sesame seed oil – as final condiment
Stuffing

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring stock to room temperature
  2. Separate 12 or more outer leaves. If some of the leaves are too small, you can combine the soften leaves to fashion a larger one
  3. Boil some water and lay in several leaves and cook for a couple minutes, until softened, but not mushy. Repeat to completion
  4. Meanwhile combine the ground meat, rice, egg, scallions, minced cabbage, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and soy sauce
  5. Lay down a leaf and add about a 1/4 cup of stuffing and fold the bottom up, the top down, and then the sides to form a roll. Lay in a heatproof pan or casserole large enough to hold all the rolls in one layer; seam side down. Complete the other rolls
  6. Turn oven on to 350º add in the stock to almost cover the rolls
  7. Cover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes
  8. Serve in bowls with a ladle of the broth over the rolls and drizzle on sesame oil

I put large collard leaves in my pressure cooker with a cup of water and pressured cooked for 6 minutes for a perfect soft leaf, and I added the pot liquor to the braise…

Note: I had one collard leaf short so I microwaved a large iceberg lettuce leaf in a sealed bowl with a tsp of water for 20 seconds for a perfect fill in!

So many roll choices!
Rolls Ready for the Oven

I also like to prepare some noodles and a cooked veggie or two to add to the bowl when ladling in the stock and topping with the rolls

Gingery Cabbage Rolls With Pork and Rice Served with Edamame Noodles

Recipe adapted by B. Hettig; original from NYTimes recipe by Sue Li

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