I published a recipe for “deconstructed” stuffed cabbage here on the blog in November of 2014; it was DebsPots 8th blog post. Please don’t click on the blog link!! The recipe is fine, though I’ve tweaked it a bit. But the photography!!! Well, I can see that I’ve made progress. Though, I don’t think this post contains my best food photos, either. And now I know part of the problem.
This is not photogenic food. Real stuffed cabbage is pretty. Unstuffed Cabbage looks, to quote Ina Garten, “like a dog’s breakfast.” And I’m being charitable. But…that’s not the point, is it? True, we eat with our eyes. But sometimes our eyes like something that looks homey and comforting and tasty. Especially when it’s really fall, and cozy is now an option, and curling up with a bowl of something stewy is really appealing.
We did our apple picking thing, just Bob and me this year. And we picked veggies in addition to apples. I fell in love with the teeny baby cabbages! I roasted a few of them, a very successful endeavor. But then, I just had to make a batch of our family’s now-famous Unstuffed Cabbage.
No, it’s not as festive or beautiful as classic stuffed cabbage. But it takes a fraction of the time, and is just as flavorful and satisfying. All the elements are there, without the massive amount of work fussing with frozen/thawing or boiling/cooling heads of unruly leaves.
This is quick enough that you can throw it together after work. And it’s a stew, so reheats beautifully and is actually better the next day. It’s a terrific weeknight meal; the kids will LOVE it, too!
I use organic ground turkey, but feel free to do it with chicken or beef.
1 lb. ground turkey, chicken, or beef (lean is ok, all breast meat is too dry)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium head cabbage (or equivalent), roughly chopped
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup raisins
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes, I like Muir Glen
1 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the onion and cook for a minute or two. Add cabbage, and toss around for a few minutes. Clear a space in the bottom of the pan and add the meat, breaking it up as it browns a bit.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes or so, until the cabbage and apples are soft.
Serve immediately or chill and reheat within 2-3 days.
Blog Note: This week, all proceeds from DebsPots shop on Etsy will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Please consider a purchase as a handmade prop for your food photography or start your holiday shopping. LLS does life saving work!