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Asian Cabbage Rolls

We spent the summer enjoying crunchy slaws and bright, fresh stir fries, but I’ve been waiting until I could make these cabbage rolls! These are really not your traditional cabbage rolls – they’re filled with a flavorful filling and covered with a savory Asian style sauce. My whole family enjoys these, and they can be made with ground turkey, pork, or chicken. I had a pound of ground chicken from Autumn’s Harvest Farm so that’s what I went with. Cabbage rolls can be a little time consuming, so I often make 2 pans and freeze one on a weekend. If you’d like to make some to freeze, just freeze the sauce separately, thaw and then bake as usual.

Asian Cabbage Rolls

This recipe is pretty heavily adapted from a cookbook called Not Your Mother’s Casseroles . Definitely check it out if you’re looking for some one-pot meals based on fresh ingredients. I adapted these rolls to be compatible with what’s available from our CSA this year. For the veggie component you can use any vegetables that can be cut into small cubes and sautéd like peppers, radish, celeriac, turnip, carrot, celery, etc. For this batch I used turnip, celeriac, and radish with bright purple onions. The meat mixture is flavored with garlic and local ginger from The Good Life Farm, if you like ginger you have to try this fresh ginger. It’s flavor can’t be beat, and you can order it from GLF in bulk to store in the freezer.

Asian Cabbage Rolls

The filling is made of cooked brown rice, ground meat, and lightly sautéed veggies. A beaten egg helps hold it together. I found that the outer leaves worked best, carefully peeling them off of the cone-shaped cabbage and round green. Save the insides for a slaw or stew. Don’t worry if they tear as long as you can wrap them around themselves you’ll be fine.

Asian Cabbage Rolls

10 – 12 large outer leaves of a large cabbage
1 lb ground pork, chicken, or turkey
1 1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice
2 cups diced vegetables like carrots, celeriac, peppers, celery, turnip, or radish
1 yellow or red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage for 2 minutes then carefully strain. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onions are softened. Add the diced veggies and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, then combine the meat, rice, veggies, and beaten egg in a large bowl. Stir in the soy sauce and rice vinegar.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Assemble the cabbage rolls. Lay a prepared cabbage leaf down with the stem end facing you. Place about 1/3 cup meat mixture into the stem end of the cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides and roll up the leaf, then place the bundle, seam side down, in one of the baking dishes. Re- peat with the rest of the cabbage leaves and meat mixture. (If you have any leftover mixture it can be rolled into meatballs and tucked between the cabbage rolls to bake with them.)

Whisk together the sauce ingredients, and pour it over the cabbage rolls. Bake for 35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a roll at the center of a dish registers 160° F. Serve drizzled with the pan juices.

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