Un-stuffed Cabbage n Beef Casserole

Stuffed cabbage rolls are definitely a Pennsylvania treat. But making this recipe can be time consuming and complex; you have to cook the whole cabbage leaves and separately cook the filling and roll up it inside the half cooked leaves, sauce it and bake it. This is just way, way easier and pretty much better in my opinion. Less work, less heat in my kitchen (I did it in my Instant Pot but you could use a slow cooker or bake in the oven.) It isn’t a pretty dish to photograph and I frankly forgot to take pictures of making it. I debated even sharing it due to this but the flavor is so delish I knew I was gonna make it again so I wanted you to have the option to give it a try.

cabbages

Here is my entire cabbage crop. These fat leaves will make a great batch of this casserole.

This recipe is very homey; great in these trying times. I used some outside cabbage leaves but any fresh cabbage will do.  I used ground chuck but lots of people swear by ground pork or even ground turkey. The amount of spices is variable and you can use any sort of tomato product you wish to get that wonderful tomato flavor in there. I added some smoked paprika and a few raisins to make it like my old recipe. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to zip it up a bit. Fiddle with the ingredients as you wish. It will still be a comfort meal your family will appreciate. Makes about 6 servings.

cabbage n rice casserolle

Told you my photo was lousy! Trust me it tastes better than it looks. And it looked better the first time we had it.

Angie’s Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

2 big garlic cloves, minced

1 med-large onion diced fine

About 4 cups of cabbage cut into 1-2 inch squares/chunks

1 can (13.5 oz) diced tomatoes

16 oz can plain tomato sauce

1.5 cups beef or chicken broth

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp. smoked paprika

A Tbsp brown sugar (optional…some folks love, some hate this)

2/3 cup white or parboiled brown rice, uncooked

  • sea salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

¼ cup raisins (optional)

 

Directions: In instant pot or big pan brown ground beef: I sprayed it with cooking spray before starting. Or use a tsp or two of mild olive oil. After the beef is half browned add the onions, stir a couple minutes; add the garlic too.  Add the spices and stir. Add the tomatoes, broth and cabbage, stir, then add the sugar, rice and salt/pepper. Stir well so nothing is stuck to the bottom. Cook in IP under pressure for 35 minutes. Let rest 10 min before depressurizing and adding optional raisins. Then serve. You can bake it in oven for 45 minutes. Slow cooker for maybe 6 hours? I don’t use that function often but I am sure it would work fine for this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Homemade Sauerkraut for 2016

In the Lehigh Valley and many other places in the USA there is a tradition of pork and sauerkraut for New Years Day dinner for good luck in the new year. I don’t know about that although I am making just that for lunch on Friday. But what I do now know is how to make my own kraut. A few post ago I wrote about kefir which is full of fantastic probiotics. A promise was made to give you a post about another food full of probiotics.

Well…this is it! How to make homemade sauerkraut. Guessing that you are cringing at the very thought of it but honestly it is quite a simple project and the taste is strangely addictive. I like to eat a couple forkfuls every day for increased gut health, a concern for those of us with celiac disease. In the past I was not a huge fan of store sauerkraut but homemade is a different animal. It is zingy on the tongue and I really just enjoy it. Knowing it is so good for me is the icing on the cake. You may say why bother but the truth is that store kraut is pasteurized and all the good probiotics are cooked right out of it. Buying raw kraut is a bit hard to find and quite pricy. Being a DIY sort of gal I enjoy that sort of fun and wanted to give it a try. Call me hooked!

christmas baking 2015 019

chicken with dates and olives 038

Ready to eat!

Angie’s Sauerkraut.

1 large head of cabbage
3 tbsp. fine sea salt (Mortons will do as well I imagine)

Directions: remove the outer layer of leaves and cut in half. Use your coarse blade on a food processor or a slicer and chop it up. Not too fine. In my first batch I did half by hand and half in my Kitchen Aid shredder. I found the machine chopped cabbage was too fine although quite edible. Better to have it a tad coarse is my feeling but entirely up to you. I use a big sharp chef’s knife and hand chop quarters of cabbage into thin shreds and cut again once or twice across to shorten the strands. Do remember to cut out the core; too hard for making into kraut.

As you get a pile chopped load it into a big wide mouth jar. I have a tall glass canister I use for kraut production. You need a glass or ceramic jar. No metal. I wouldn’t suggest plastic either. You can buy a special sauerkraut maker jar with a fancy lid that vents the jar. Or you can go low tech and put a layer of olive oil on top the loaded jar to keep the air off the kraut. As you load it sprinkle each big clump with the salt. Fill it to the top using up the salt. I press down after adding each clump of shreds. The salt will cause the cabbage to release water. Fill the jar as full as possible. I like to use an empty glass canning jar to press down the cabbage.  In a few hours it will have released enough liquid to cover the cabbage. You can’t allow the cabbage to be above the liquid. Put a lid on top to keep dust out. Do not refrigerate; the process won’t work well if it is chilled before four weeks passes.

Now comes the hard part. The waiting…30 whole days, it should be edible after about 20 but it tastes more krauty after 30, actually I like it best by about 40 days. So be strong and wait until the thirty days is up. It will be a touch sour and take some getting used to but I really love the crunchy flavor which is missing in that pasteurized stuff you buy in the grocery store.

I include a link to a webpage on how to make kraut: http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/making-sauerkraut.html

And just for extra help: a webpage to use in trouble shooting your kraut and to reassure you that you are doing it right as well as giving some great ideas for how to make sauerkraut at home. http://www.foodrenegade.com/3-biggest-fermenting-mistakes-youre-already-making/

If you are a DIY sort, this will be a fun winter project. It is too close to New Years Day so if you want sauerkraut with your pork you should toddle off to the grocery store and buy a bag or a can. I am doing that because I don’t have enough kraut on hand for the making of that time honored New Years Day recipe. Enjoy and Happy New Years to all my readers.