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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beef Cabbage Casserole

I loves me some cabbage rolls, but the head of cabbage I had in the fridge wasn't really big enough to get decent-sized leaves off of for rolling.  Besides, I'd just spent the afternoon throwing together the next couple of weeks' worth of freezer meals and I was pooped.  So I decided to make "deconstructed" cabbage rolls instead.  A bonus of making this casserole instead of regular cabbage rolls is that you aren't left with that tiny ball of cabbage that you can't get any more decent-sized leaves from.  While it most certainly can be shredded and repurposed into a recipe for coleslaw or salad, some days that's just too much bother.  And it's as easy to make two of these casseroles as to make one.

This recipe can be cooked from a frozen state but it will take at least 2 hours in the oven.  If you want to do this, be sure to assemble the casseroles in metal pans (disposal or regular metal baking pans), NOT in ceramic or glass pans!!!  Ceramic and glass will be fine if you thaw the casserole first, though I'd still leave the dish on the counter for 30 minutes or so to avoid cold-glass-meets-hot-oven fireworks.  With *really* good planning, this can be a crockpot meal as well...just be sure to assemble and freeze the casserole in a pan that is smaller than your crockpot insert (a small cake pan works for mine) or put 1/2 the following recipe directly into the crockpot insert for next-day cooking.

Beef Cabbage Casserole
Makes 16 servings (2 or 4 casseroles)

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
3 lbs. ground beef (or turkey, pork, chicken or veal)
1 cup milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice or nutmeg
1 medium head of cabbage, cored and shredded
3 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes or 4 large fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cup water

Mix beef, rice, milk, and seasonings until thoroughly combined.

To assemble casseroles, use two 3 quart casseroles or 4 8x8 pans.  Spread 1/2 of the cabbage in the pans (dividing evenly), then half the onion and half the meat mixture.  Try to spread the meat mixture as evenly as possible.  Repeat with remaining cabbage, onion and meat.  Spread the tomatoes evenly over the tops of the casseroles.  Divide the water evenly among the pans.  Cover with foil and fridge or freeze.

To cook, thaw and bake, covered, 1 hour at 350F, or until meat is cooked through.  To cook from frozen, put the foil-covered frozen casserole in for 2 hours at 325F.  For the crockpot, remove the frozen casserole from its molding pan and put it in the crockpot insert.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Oh. My. Word. You've done it! You found my happy place!!! I miss cabbage pockets (beef and cabbage in a roll), and this could be an awesome GF substitute!