Monday, April 12, 2010

Deconstructed Crockpot Stuffed Cabbage

I'm beginning to notice a trend:  Everything I make, when photographed, looks like a big, red, gloppy mess.  Perhaps I have a taste for such concoctions?  I don't know. 

What I DO know is that this cabbage dish is divine.  It was born from two different recipes.  One gave me the idea of using the flavors of stuffed cabbage, without actually going to the trouble of stuffing the meat in the leaves.  That's EXACTLY how I roll!  Or don't roll.  Get it?!?!  Anyway, I had to try it.  Another recipe suggested better flavors than the first, so I went with that one for taste purposes. 

Cabbage is something I don't cook with much, but it's actually super cheap.  One head of cabbage ended up giving me 8 cups of chopped cabbage.  That's a lot!  Do keep in mind that it cooks down a lot, so what looks like a mountain of cabbage will actually reduce to a very manageable pile after applying a bit of heat. 

My family and I gobbled a whole crockpot of this up in the span of a few nights.  However, the next time I make it I am going to reduce the sugar content by AT LEAST HALF.  If not more.  It was too sweet for my taste.  But even with the extra sweetness, it was still a magical dish. 

NOTE: You may be wondering why I am still putting out crockpot recipes when the weather is decidedly warmer. Here's the deal: I believe that the crockpot is actually a warm weather friend. Aside from browning the meat in the beginning of the recipe, you don't need to slave over a hot stove. And most of the time, the stove-work will be done earlier in the day, when your kitchen is much cooler. I am a HUGE fan of crockpot cooking all year round.

This is the perfect dish to make on a weekend, when you have a little bit of extra time to do some light chopping (nothing too taxing) and to let the crockpot do it's thing.  It keeps well in the fridge and improves with each day it sits.  So feel free to make this on a weekend and serve it during the week, merely reheating what you need.  I served this on top of instant brown rice.  My Dad informed me that egg noodles are the traditionally appropriate side dish to go with such a meal.  I actually thought the rice was perfect, because it soaked up the yummy juices.  Go ahead and serve whatever makes you happy.

Deconstructed Crockpot Stuffed Cabbage
Serves: 10
Serving size: 1 cup
Points per serving: 3

  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped (approximately 8 cups)
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef (I wouldn't substitute turkey for this.  The beef adds a lot of flavor to this simple dish.  Turkey wouldn't have the necessary richness.)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup instant brown rice
  • 1/3 cup Craisins (that was what I had on hand, but you can use raisins, currants, etc.)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons steak seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I will use 1 or 2 tablespoons next time I make this.)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used 4 tablespoons to cut some of the sweetness, so add this to taste.)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, optional (I used this to help counteract the sweetness of the sauce once I realized how sweet it was.  It helped a bit.  So if you end up with a super sweet dish, feel free to use soy sauce to counteract the sweetness.)
  1. Place as much cabbage as will fit into your crockpot, leaving an inch or two of room at the top for the meat and sauce.  (You will add the rest of the cabbage once the first batch wilts down.)  
  2. In a large skillet, add the onions, carrots and ground beef and saute until the beef is browned.  
  3. Add garlic to pan.  Once you get a whiff of the glorious garlic scent, add the instant rice, Craisins and seasonings.  
  4. Spoon meat mixture on top of cabbage in the crockpot.  
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar (go easy on the sugar at first) and cider vinegar.  
  6. Taste the tomato mixture.  If it is not sweet enough for your taste, add more brown sugar.  If it is too sweet for your taste, add more vinegar.  If it is still too sweet, add some soy sauce.  
  7. Pour tomato mixture over the cabbage and beef in the crockpot.  
  8. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  
  9. NOTE:  Check after the first hour to see if the first batch of cabbage has wilted. If it has, add the rest of the cabbage.  Give everything a good stir, and let it go until you're ready to eat.   
Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers "Slow Cook It" Cookbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment