Thursday, January 4, 2018

Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 1st time success

There's a puzzle piece missing in my life. Several, actually. But in this case, I need a friend with an Eastern European Jewish American mother, willing to take me under her wing and teach me all she knows.

As I currently don't have that level of support, but am taking applications, really sending out bribes, I was all on my own to figure stuffed cabbage rolls out. Also, I have never made an actual main course in my Instant Pot. So, this was a double first-time adventure.

I mainly used two recipes already available online. Grandma Lil's and my internet crush, Smitten Kitchen to come up with my own version of stuffed cabbage. And, I finally used the saute function on the Pot.

Let's get to it.

stuffed cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
1 head cabbage, I used regular green cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced fine
1 large parsnip, grated (I love parsnips! Other recipes also used carrot, but not me)
1/2 C. uncooked white rice
3 C. Spicy V-8 plus an extra splash or two
1/4 C. brown sugar
4 Tbl. lemon juice, I used bottled cause it's what I had
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Par-cook cabbage. With trivet in bottom of Instant Pot, place cabbage head in whole. Select pressure cook, 5 minutes. I unfortunately only cooked mine for two minutes, and the middle was still raw. So, in doing further research, I'd up it to 5 minutes. Quick steam release when 5 minutes is up. The first couple leaves were a bit mush. I picked those off and saved them to layer on the bottom of the Pot. Apparently tomato-based dishes like to scorch.

2. Using the saute function on the Pot, add a couple tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the grated parsnip, another sprinkling of salt, and saute for another few minutes until softened. Set aside to cool. Wash Pot.

3. Filling: In large bowl mix ground beef, uncooked rice, a good pinch of salt, you want your filling to be well-seasoned, some pepper, and a splash or two of V-8. In other recipes they used tomato paste, but I didn't want to open a tomato paste just for a tablespoon or two, so I went with the tomato juice I was using for the sauce. Add sauteed onions and parsnips and mix until just combined.

4. Sauce: In medium bowl combine Spicy V-8, brown sugar, lemon juice, a Tbl. of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until needed.

5. Rolls: Carefully pull off cabbage leaves and lay them flat. Cut off the bottom of  leaf where the vein is thick. It'll make folding unwieldy.

6. Place a scoop of meat mixture in the bottom-middle. Fold either side over the meat and then roll it up to the top. Continue until the cabbage leaves and or meat mixture is gone. I was stingy with the meat mixture, or something, but I ran out of cabbage leaves before I ran out of filling. So, I made some really pathetic rolls using raw cabbage that I kind of sandwiched around the filling. It worked fine.

7. Place a couple cabbage leaves in bottom of pot. Put trivet over cabbage leaves. Stack cabbage rolls in single layer on top of trivet. Pour a nice dousing of sauce over cabbage rolls. Cover the first layer with cabbage leaves or chopped up cabbage core and place another layer of rolls on top. Pour rest of the sauce over. Make sure you don't go beyond the max capacity for the Instant Pot. The rolls will swell thanks to the uncooked rice.

8. Here's where things get a bit sketchy. I had to leave before my cabbage rolls were done cooking. So, I had a couple things to consider. I could cook it on high pressure for 9 minutes, as one recipe suggested, and let it finish cooking until it naturally re-pressurized. But almost all the other recipes said cook for 18 minutes, let naturally re-pressurize for fifteen minutes, then quick release. So, I did my own weird thing and let them cook for about 16 minutes at high pressure, knowing the Mister would be home to do the quick release within about 20 minutes.

**Next time I make them, and there will be a next time, I'll cook them at 18 minutes, high pressure, let re-pressurize for 15 minutes, then quick release, so I'd recommend that method for you. Even though I was forced to go rogue.

9. Here's also where things didn't work out exactly to plan. As I wasn't home, the Mister tossed out the sauce the rolls were cooking in. Dagger to heart. So, when you make them, hold onto the sauce. If it's thin, remove the cabbage rolls and turn the Pot back to saute, letting the sauce reduce a bit. I imagine it's delicious, as the rolls were excellent and they cooked in the sauce. But I'm sure they would've been even better with.

Results: Both kids enjoyed the filling more than they enjoyed the cabbage around the filling. The adults though, enjoyed it as a whole. The parsnip added a sweet earthiness that I think really added something. And even though I used Spicy V-8, it wasn't the least bit spicy.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

In case you want to make what I'm making, tomorrow's dinner will be my OMG soup and the best biscuits you'll ever eat. I'm using the other lb. of ground beef I thawed, and didn't use for this recipe, plus the left-over V-8. I've got carrots, onions, celery, beef base, and a bean soup-base already on hand.

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