Y’all know I love my cabbage and pork. Once again, the picture doesn’t really do this meal justice. Imagine succulent cabbage melted onto the form of a giant pork meatball, equally sweet and sour. This recipe had the additional advantage of using up a variety of items filling my refrigerator, freezer, and winter pantry: homemade canned tomato sauce, frozen ground pork, eggs, cabbage, onion, garlic, thyme, rice, and lemons of dubious age. The lemons came from the local vegetable truck; the rice from Whole Foods; everything else either came from the CSA or I grew it myself. (OK, I bought the sugar and vinegar and salt.)
Now that I feel all virtuous in the sourcing, there is a guilty confession. This recipe was adapted from Sharon Lebewohl and Rena Bulkin’s The 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook. This is a decidely Jewish cookbook—and my use of pork makes it decidedly treif. What can I say? I like my pork. Let’s think of it as an “eastern European” recipe and move on. My apologies to my in-laws. Aside from the pork, the only other change is the use of the pressure cooker rather than the nearly two hours their version needs to cook on the stove.
Stuffed Cabbage in the Pressure Cooker
For the stuffing:
1 lb ground meat (preferably beef or lamb, or, if you’re obsessive, pork)
3/4 c. uncooked rice
1 c. chopped onion
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
For the cabbage:
1 large cabbage, cored
For the sauce:
2 c. tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 lemon, chopped into large pieces
1 c. white or brown sugar
1/2 c. white or cider vinegar
1 c. water
What to do:
1) Core the cabbage by making a series of cuts with a long, sharp knife:
2) Bring a very large pot of water to boil. Plop the cabbage in. Boil it for a few minutes, remove, and carefully peel off as many outer layers as you can and set the leaves aside. Repeat until you have at least 12 whole cabbage leaves. Then set the rest of the cabbage aside.
3) Meanwhile, while you’re bringing the water to a boil, combine all of your stuffing ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.
4) Cut out the hard part of the central spine from a leaf of cabbage and place 1/4 of stuffing in the middle. Roll it up:
5) Place your cabbage rolls in your pressure cooker:
6) Chop up the remaining cabbage, add it to the sauce mixture, and pour over the cabbages.
7) Close and lock the lid. Cook at 15 lbs of pressure for 10 minutes. (For a refresher on pressure cooker basics, see this post.) Let the pressure drop of its own accord.
You’ll be eating it for days. It’s shockingly filling but utterly delicious.