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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cabbage Casserole with Pork

I love cabbage in every form - whether marinated in sauerkraut, raw in coleslaw, steamed plain, or baked in a casserole. Not only is cabbage a good source of Vitamin C, but its low in calories - this wonderful casserole being a fine example of that. Imagine the delectable fragrance and taste of bacon, cabbage, and pork, and youll have some idea how terrific this casserole is! 

Similar to cabbage rolls in taste, the dish binds the meat within it with chopped cabbage, rather than rice. Use the full amount of pepper and caraway seeds for which the recipe calls: The pepper’s sharp taste and the mildness of the cabbage stand in pleasing contrast to one another. I give this easy-to-make casserole top marks! By the way, if you’re wondering why my kitchen looks so different in the photos below, I took them during our recent vacation getaway.

Cabbage Casserole with Pork:

1 small head green cabbage, about 1 lb.
2 tbsp. canola oil, divided
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
½ lb. (250 g) lean pork, cubed
1 lb. (454 g) ground pork, fried and drained of fat
1 tsp. caraway seeds
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. fine black pepper
½ c. dry white wine
3 strips bacon, uncooked and thickly sliced (see Further Note)

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Bring large pot of water to the boil, immediately reducing heat to simmer.

Halve cabbage, cutting away tough core. Cook in simmering water  10 min. Remove from pot, draining and carefully pulling away 10 or 12 large outer leaves and any tough stems bisecting leaf centres.   Oil-spray 2 qt. (2 L) ovenproof casserole dish, lining with half of cabbage leaves. Set remainder of cabbage leaves aside. Finely chop remainder of cabbage, also setting aside.

Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in pot previously used to cook cabbage. Add onions, reserved chopped cabbage, cubed pork, and ground pork (see Note), caraway seeds, salt, and pepper all at once, turning often and frying until pork cubes loses all pink. Quickly stir in wine and remaining oil, heating through. Spoon pork-cabbage mixture into spray-greased casserole lined with cabbage leaves. Lay reserved leaves over mixture, tucking in any cabbage edges that overlap dish. Place bacon strips down centre of cabbage-covered casserole. Bake 45 min. Serves 6.

Note: I’d previously fried the ground pork in this recipe. I often fry, de-fat, and freeze ground meats in advance, saving valuable time as I prepare this or other dishes made with ground pork or ground beef. 

Further Note: Or cut 6 strips thinly sliced bacon in half crosswise, laying one halved strip over a second one.


You’ll need your largest pot

You’ll also want a splash of dry white wine 

Chop a couple of onions ...

Set whole, cooked cabbage leaves aside; chop the rest

Sauté onion and cubed pork until pork loses its pink color

Add chopped, cooked cabbage to ground and cubed pork and onion

Line spray-greased casserole with half cooked cabbage leaves

Spoon in meat mixture

This smells heavenly!

Top mixture with remaining cooked cabbage leaves

Place three slices thick bacon on top of dish

Bake 45 min. in moderate oven.

Here’s to hearty, healthy, down-home cooking! Serves 6.

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