Happy New Year!



Here's wishing everyone out there a happy New Year's Eve! It's been a fantastic 2013. Here's a little re-cap of some of the best things about 2013:
  • Two of my best friends in the world got engaged to two of the best men around (can't wait to celebrate in 2014!)
  • I got a job with Google and moved to San Francisco
  • Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast is almost 3 years old and about 150 recipes deep
  • My sis and her boyfriend built a new house and broke ground on a pool  (real adults)
  • Brian and my other sis got a sweet promos at work
  • My dad celebrated the big 6-0 with the whole family
  • And last but not least, my mom became the babysitter for the sweetest little baby girl in Medina. She's an angel. Both my mom and Sonja. 
To ring in 2014, here's a good old pork and cabbage recipe. You're gonna use a lot of pots and pans, so make sure you have a helper to clean as you go. Tell your significant other to get their butt off the couch. Happy New Year!!

Smoky Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
makes 10-12 cabbage rolls

for the cabbage rolls:
1 head savoy or green cabbage
1 lb ground pork
1 cup white rice (basmati or jasmine)
1.5 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp hot smoky paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 egg (whisked)
3 strips thick smoky bacon
salt and pepper
olive oil

Start by getting the rice going. Bring chicken broth or water to a boil. Add rice, salt and pepper, lower to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes. Remove to a large mixing bowl. 

As rice cooks, in a high lipped saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, smoky paprika, salt and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and red wine. Let reduce and thicken for 3-4 minutes. Remove and add to same mixing bowl as rice.

In the mixing bowl, stir in the ground pork, egg, 1/2 tbsp paprika, salt and pepper. Mix to combine into a thick meaty combination. Set aside until the cabbage leaves are ready.

Get the cabbage leaves ready for stuffing. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and give it some salt. Cut out the bottom core of the head of cabbage and carefully remove the outer leaves. You want them to be whole leaves, so do this step carefully. Get as many as you can, hopefully somewhere around 10-12 large ones. Drop the cabbage leaves into the boiling water and blanch for 4 minutes. Remove and shake off excess water. Transfer to a clean working surface. 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking dish or Dutch oven, line the bottom with excess pieces of cabbage (not the ones you blanched). Add a layer of 3 bacon strips on top of the cabbage.

Now stuff the cabbage leaves. Add about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture to the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll it up tightly and put in the baking dish on top of the bacon. Repeat step until all leaves are stuffed and meat mixture is gone. Tuck them in the dish together tightly.

Cover with tomato sauce (recipe below), cover with lid or foil, and pop into the oven for 40 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.


for the tomato sauce:
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp Italian spice mix
1 tsp hot smoky paprika
salt and pepper
olive oil

I used the same pan for this as the one I sautéed the onions and garlic in for the stuffing. So start this right when you transfer the onions to the mixing bowl.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, paprika, Italian spices, salt, and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add whole tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes. Chop the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to break them down periodically.

Spoon over cabbage rolls as noted above. The paprika in the tomato sauce is so delicious. I couldn't decide whether I liked the cabbage rolls or the tomato sauce more.


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