Its St. Patrick’s Day season! I can honestly say I don’t cook Irish style dishes too often in my house. But once a year I feel it is a MUST to have the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage. The only thing wrong with this dish is, it’s a little boring. I started to think how I could liven this dish up and still keep all the traditional components. And then I had an epiphany! I had been craving my great grandmother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage. It’s a traditional Polish dish that my family has passed down and it has become more of a special occasion meal. I thought… what if I swapped out the usual ground beef filling for corned beef and change the usual tomato sauce to a vegetable stock?
I decided to try out this fusion dish knowing that it could be a total flop, but hoping for the best. To my surprise the combination totally worked! I was able to infuse the vegetable stock with the flavors we associate with our St. Patty’s Day meal like clove, thyme, and mustard. The other great part is that your side of vegetables, carrots and onions, cook right along with the cabbage for a total one pot dinner.
If you are looking for a new twist on a classic this recipe is perfect. It can also be a great option for your leftover corned beef after you have the traditional meal. There are a small handful of steps but don’t be intimidated it is a very easy recipe, even for a first timer.
Recipe for Corned Beef Stuffed Cabbage:
For the cabbage:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, remove all large outer green leaves from your head of cabbage. Cut the bottom core off of the head. Once the water is boiling, place the whole head of cabbage into the pot. Let the cabbage cook for 4-5 minutes and then turn off the stovetop and let cabbage continue to soak for another 3-4 minutes. Leaves should be slightly soft and flexible now, but not too soft.
Drain the cabbage into a colander until cool enough for handling.
Once cooled remove any very bright green outer leaves. Use these (3 or 4 should do) to cover the bottom of a large stock pot.
Remove the rest of the leaves and let them dry out on paper towels.
For the Corned Beef:
Cut your corned beef into large cubes and place on a baking sheet. Put in your freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to cool down (this trick allows the meat to be ground up without tearing and getting stuck in your food processor).
Once cooled, working in 2 batches, place meat and contents of spice packet in food processor and pulse until meat is fully ground.
Take the ground meat and put it in a mixing bowl. Add cooked rice, salt and pepper to taste to the mixture.
Putting it all together:
Scoop 1/8 of the mixture into the center your first cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom part of the leaf over the mixture, pulling in the sides so the mixture is fully encased by the cabbage leaf. Continue to tightly roll up. Repeat with each cabbage leaf.
Place the cabbage rolls on top of the green cabbage leaves you placed at the bottom of your stock pot. Put them as close and as tightly fit as possible to each other. You do not want any cabbage floating once the liquid is added.
Add the sliced onion, carrots. thyme, bay leaves, mustard seeds, and cloves to the pot. Then pour your vegetable stock over everything. The stock will not cover all the vegetables but this is ok, it will cook down.
Last step before starting to simmer is placing a small, heat safe, plate over the top of everything. This will help to ensure that the cabbage does not float to the top. I also still placed the stockpot’s cover on while simmering. Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about an hour and 10 minutes.
Remove your stuffed cabbage with a large slotted spoon and place a heaping amount of your veggies and broth over the cabbage rolls when plating.
With the luck of the Irish your dish will be a new family favorite each year when the holiday rolls around!
…all for the love of the dish.