Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Looks like your standard lasagna, right?

Not quite.  I had two small heads of green cabbage dying a slow death in my fridge.  My friend Emily and I split a vegetable farm share every 3 weeks.  Every third Thursday is like Christmas morning for us.  We get a giant box of vegetables and local products and spend 20 minutes splitting everything up on my kitchen counter oohing and aahing over the surprises we find each week... except for the cabbage.  We pull everything else out of the box-- apples, potatoes, monster sized carrots, winter greens, oats, sea salt, apple cider vingear, all the goodies-- avoiding the cabbage, both knowing that eventually someone will have to claim it and put it to good use.  

I lost the battle this week and have been having a stare down with the cabbage for a week and a half.  Luckily, my favorite new iphone app solved the problem: Pinterest to the rescue.  Despite my boyfriend's desire to toss my iphone in the river every time I get on the Pinterest app, I found a winner cabbage casserole recipe just by typing cabbage into the search bar.  Take that lovey, Pinterest was responsible for your dinner.  

Here's the recipe:

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

You'll need:
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I cooked in vegetable broth instead of water for more flavor)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used (90% lean, no hormones, no antibiotics, no animal byproducts)
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 small heads of green cabbage, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 package shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook brown rice ahead of time:

Chop and rinse your cabbage ahead of time as well.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.  When browned, remove from pan and set aside.  At this point, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray a large casserole dish (9 x 13) with cooking spray.

Add chopped onion to the pan with 1 T of olive oil and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Then add thyme, paprika and garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  

Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the onion.  Add browned beef back in as well.  

Bring this mixture to a simmer then add in cooked rice.  Cook for 10-15 minutes with rice.  

Like that steam?  I swear one day I'm going to waterlog my iphone from holding it over a steaming pot for too long.  For the 10-15 minutes that the rice mixture is simmering, add cabbage to another pot with 1 T of olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  The cabbage should just begin to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.  

When everything is done cooking, layer your baking dish with half of the cabbage, then half the rice/beef mixture, then a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with the remaining cabbage and rice, no cheese this time.  Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove foil, add top layer of cheese and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  

I think that's plate number 2 out of 3 for the boy.  I don't think I'll have to fight Emily for the cabbage anymore!