Stuffed Cabbage Rolls…and an Unexpected Sweet Treat

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Like many other holidays I like to celebrate with festive food. I fondly remember eating stuffed cabbage as a child; for most kids this dish may be a tough sell but not for me. My mom and her mother would stand at the kitchen table rolling many batches of stuffed cabbage. It seemed to take hours, but at the end I got a delicious dinner. I also remember sharing this dish with family members at the home of my great aunt during our visits. It always amazes me how a smell can transport you back to a memory…

I made some minor changes to a classic recipe by substituting turkey for the more traditional beef. I also used brown rice instead of white rice and added an egg to bind the meat mixture. These changes plus a couple extra spices and I have elevated the dish to suit my taste-buds. It is so satisfying to take a classic family recipe and update it; these usually turn out to be my favorites! I made this recipe in the Crock-pot to minimize the effort and make it flexible for even the busiest day.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1 lb. white meat ground turkey
  • 2 c. prepared brown rice
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
  • dried oregano/basil (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and place head of cabbage in to soften the leaves 3-4 minutes. Peel away a couple layers of the leaves (they will look almost like cabbage cups) and put the cabbage back in the water to soften the next couple layers of leaves. Continue this process until you achieve the desired number of cabbage leaves.

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Combine turkey, rice, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, caraway seeds, thyme, and egg in a medium bowl. Season meat mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

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Place one cabbage leaf on your work surface and place a couple spoonfuls of meat filling toward the bottom of the leaf; roll both sides in and then roll like a burrito. Place seam side down in the Crock-pot. You are looking for roughly 1/4 c. to 1/3 c. meat mixture in each cabbage leaf. Repeat until the bottom of the Crock-pot is covered and pour diced tomatoes over the top.

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Repeat with another layer to use the remaining cabbage leaves and filling. Pour tomato sauce over the second layer of cabbage rolls and sprinkle with dried oregano/basil. Place bay leaf on top, if using. Cover Crock-pot and turn on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Traditionally my mom says this is served with mashed potatoes…but I served it with Parmesan thyme toast to soak up the tomato juice. Enjoy!

Parmesan Thyme Toast

Ingredients

  • 5-6 slices Rye bread with caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

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Place bread slices on a baking sheet and spread with butter. Sprinkle on fresh thyme and Parmesan cheese and place in a 400 degree F oven until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Adorable!
Adorable!

Last but not least…its important to have a festive dessert. Although I am not going on a pub crawl today I am enjoying the traditional stout flavor in the form of dessert. I found this recipe from Food Network and have to sing its praises; who would have thought beer would make such a great sweet treat?! I used Founder’s Breakfast Stout because it has a hint of vanilla and coffee flavor that play wonderfully with the chocolate base of this cupcake. Because I made the batter from scratch I didn’t make the icing (didn’t have great reviews) and used vanilla. A quick sprinkle of green finished off this unique treat. Follow the link below to print the recipe:

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