Pork- & aubergine-stuffed cabbage rolls 

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Fair-well, winter. This is my last cooked cabbage recipe of the year, I reckon. Bring on Spring, sunny salads and slaws. But let’s go out with a bang.

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This is a tweak on a recipe I’ve cooked before. Stuffed cabbage rolls, filled with pork – last time I added rice, this time aubergine. Because you can have rice on the side if you want, which is exactly what Scott wants. I, however, am avoiding rice where I can at the moment so had them on their own – not, by any means, a disappointment.

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These rolls, smothered in their rich tomato sauce, are very filling and satisfying on their own. Don’t bother with any extra veg. The only thing you might want on the side is rice or bread – both help mop up all that sauce.

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So I’ve given you the quantities I cooked below, which gives you about twice the quantity of pork you need to make enough cabbage wraps and sauce. This is because I’ve never seen pork mince in any lower pack quantity than the below, and I don’t really want to give a recipe that uses half an aubergine either. You may as well make the whole batch of stuffing and use it another night- my recommendation would be in a Thai style stir fry or lettuce wraps. Go heavy on the fish sauce.


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You will need:

for the rolls

500g free range pork mince

1 large white onion, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 aubergine, diced

2 tspn white pepper

1 tbspn smoked paprika

1 tspn chilli flakes

1 tbspn white wine vinegar

Large handful chopped parsley

E.V. Olive oil

Salt

for the sauce

1 litre carton passata

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup red wine

Small bunch basil leaves, hand torn

1 tbspn sugar or so

E.V. Olive oil

Salt, pepper

plus

1 Savoy cabbage

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Method:

1 – Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
2 – Start by making the sauce, as it needs to reduce for a while. Heat about 2 tbspns of the oil in a deep large frying pan and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds til fragrant then tip in the passata, wine, salt, pepper and half the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce and simmer for around 40 mins or so on a low heat, til the sauce turns thick and unctuous. Check the seasoning and add more sugar if needed
3 – Meanwhile make the stuffing. Scatter the aubergine dice in a baking tray, season with salt and drizzle with 2 tbspns oil. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes, checking and tossing periodically and adding more oil if needed
4 – Heat a little oil in another frying pan and add the onion and some salt. Cook for 5 minutes or so, then stir in the garlic and chilli, then after another few minutes, stir in the white pepper, chilli flakes and paprika.
5 – Add the pork to the onion mix and allow to brown before breaking up slightly and stirring in the white wine vinegar plus the parsley. Cook for 15 minutes or so, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent sticking. Season to taste
6 – Once the aubergine and pork are both cooked, mix together and mash to break down any big lumps to create a more homogenous mix
7 – Bring a big pan of water to the boil and prepare the cabbage leaves. You only want to use the first 6-8 leaves, depending on the size of your cabbage. The leaves need to be sturdy and quite deep green. Separate the outer leaves from the stalk and cut into the stem slightly to encourage cooking. Add the leaves to the boiling water and blanch for a minute. Drain
8 – Prepare the rolls. Spoon about 1 heaped tablespoon of the pork mix into the centre of each leaf and roll up as you would a burrito, stalk first. Tuck in the sides and secure with toothpicks. Repeat until all leaves are full
9 – Pop the secured cabbage rolls in the tomato sauce and simmer, covered, for ten minutes. Remove the lid, add the basil and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes til the cabbage is tender and the sauce thick. Serve

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5 thoughts on “Pork- & aubergine-stuffed cabbage rolls 

  1. I absolutely love cabbage rolls. I grew up eating my grandmother’s as a little kid. This modern take on a classic sounds like the perfect blend of old and new. I’ll have to give your beautiful recipe a try!

  2. I’ve never really thought of cabbage as a beautiful vegetable but looking at your first photo, those bright green veins are actually quite pretty! Love the idea of the seasoned rice stuffing – just delicious. I’m going to give these a go now that our weather is cooling down a little. Admittedly I’ve never made stuffed cabbage before… but I’ve dabbled in dolmade making so I reckon these should be achievable :) Hope you and Scott are doing well lovely! xx

    1. It is when it’s blanched or raw, definitely! And red cabbage is pretty raw too i think. Yes, have a go! It’s a nice change. We’re both really well lovely thank you, hope you both are too! x

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