Thursday, December 22, 2011

Giant Stuffed Napa Cabbage

A giant stuffed Napa (Hakusai) cabbage that I learned on a Japanese cooking show some time ago. The recipe was easy enough to remember without having to write most things down.

Had to first go find a smaller Napa that would fit my Le Creuset Tomato (or use more the inner leaves of a larger). I used about nine leaves but it all depends how massive of one you're willing to create I guess. These leaves get a quick blanch in boiling water then are set aside in a strainer to cool.

The meat stuffing is very easy but I'm planning to experiment more next time. You end up with a nice simple dish but I wouldn't have minded a little more interest in flavor and texture. I did end up underseasoning it a little so maybe that was it, but anyway it called for ground pork with only Panko bread crumbs moistened with some milk, S&P.
Knead everything very well. With this lesser amount of moisture you'll end up with something with a lot of adhesion (sticky) which is what you need for it to stick well to the cabbage leaves and not separate during cooking.
Construction first begins by making a core with two leaves stuffed resembling a clamshell. The alternating consecutive layers, the leaves are spread with 1/4~3/8" of the kneaded pork. Continue like you're reassembling the cabbage back to its original form. When you think you reached the desired size (or run out of ingredients), tie snugly with butcher's twine.

Drop a bouillon cube of choice (I used half because it was a larger cube). A tomato cut into quarters (cherry tomatoes are a good substitute). I drizzled a bit of extra virgin olive oil though it wasn't mentioned. You don't need a lot of water, only an inch or so up. After it reaches a boil, lid and lower heat to a medium simmer. Mine took a total of 25 mins, turning it over around the half way mark and basting semi regularly.

Slice into thick portions and dress with some of the simmer liquid. I love coarse ground pepper on pretty much everything. As with most stewed dishes will taste even better the next day. Again, will probably play around with the stuffing mixture next time. Maybe add finely minced onions, even experiment with a partial beef blend. Still was pretty good though.

Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High was kind enough to invite me on a South Bay taco crawl yesterday along with Cathy of Mmm-Yoso and Carol of Cab Cooks. They all had gifts and I felt lame not having any! The Pulla (Finnish Cardamon Coffee Bread) was from Cathy which she baked herself. Festive cookies in the cellophane bag was from Carol (also homemade), and whole bunch of goodies from CC including pomegranate molasses, garlic spice blend from Gilroy and even an purple ube cake. Thanks guys and Happy Holidays!


Mike said...

That looks really good!

caninecologne said...

Glad you liked it! Tell me what you think of the pork pate! i liked the tin packaging! so eastern european! :)

the crawl was mega fun!

Carol said...

Wow, I love stuffed cabbage but find it tedious to roll all the various little ones. Now this would solve that problem. I'll have to try it.

I'm glad you were able to join the food crawl. I had so much fun!

Dennis K. said...

Thanks Mike! I just reheated leftovers and it was definitely better. Might add a little butter to richen the sauce next time too.

Hi CC, yeah I loved the can of pate too! Sounds perfect for a banh mi.

Hi Carol! Yeah it's actually easier than it looks and pretty good for the short time spent. I have a pretty solid martha stewart recipe for normal stuffed cabbage. Haven't made that in a while. Anyway I'm still going to try a different filler blend/recipe next time for this. I had a lot of fun yesterday too! And thanks again for the cookies.

Cathy Doe said...

The cut cross section is beautiful. I'm trying with napa next time. I make the filling with rice and onions and sometimes pour tomato sauce over when cooking. The Mister's mom didn't like tomatoes and would bake the stuffed rolls on a cookie sheet, brushing honey over the cabbage- it would have that crispy burned sweet coating; good with pork.

The food crawl was great fun. I found a bunch of new places.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Cathy! Oops, I think I had misspelled 'Napa". Your mother-in-law's baked version with brushed honey sounds interesting!

K and S said...

that looks awesome!

Dennis K. said...

Thanks Kat! :)

Madfoot said...

I'm making this right now! Oh, and gutt shabbos? (nice challah!)

Dennis K. said...

Hi Madfoot, let me know what you think! The recipe as-is is very simple in flavor. Planning to play up the filling mixture next time I make it.