Wish Upon A Dish: Sweetpotato, Pork and Wild Brown Rice Stuffed Cabbage {Recipe Redux Sponsored Recipe Contest}

October 11, 2013

Sweetpotato, Pork and Wild Brown Rice Stuffed Cabbage {Recipe Redux Sponsored Recipe Contest}

Recipe Redux members were among the first to be introduced to California sweetpotatoes!
Sweet potatoes are not in fact a “sweet potato”- they are a different vegetable entirely.

Sweetpotatoes will now be known as one word to emphasize to consumers that they are quite different from the white potato and other sweet potatoes out there.
What’s unique about California sweetpotatoes is that they are grown in soft sand and are hand sorted during harvest to minimize scarring and scratching. The result is a visually, higher quality (i.e., more attractive) sweetpotato.
California sweetpotatoes are a “nutrition bang for the calorie buck” with 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, a good source of vitamin C and more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, all for 105 calories per serving (1 medium size, cooked). Plus, they are available year-round.

Consumers often mistakenly think that sweetpotatoes are yams. The California Sweetpotato Council also wants to set the record straight to clear up this confusion and shift the vernacular. Sweetpotatoes are sweet and moist, while yams are dry and starchy and not readily available in the U.S. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that there are varieties of sweetpotatoes called yams. Sweetpotatoes with orange interiors have a higher beta-carotene content than true yams. Sweetpotatoes are grown in the United States, while yams are imported from the Caribbean. (The scientific name of sweetpotato is Ipomoea batatas and it's a member of the morning glory family. A yam on the other hand belongs to the Yam plant family.)

Aren't these babies gorgeous. I know I sound like a broken record, but I swear, they roast better, they are sweeter, the skins on mine were unblemished and evenly colored and peeled easier.

The only other thing I need to say about sweetpotatoes is that because of this sponsored recipe contest I never would have known that sweetpotatoes are a Diabetic Super Food. I knew they were better than white potatoes but I did not know that unlike white potatoes, no matter which way a sweetpotato is cooked, the GI never goes over 65. They are void of the starch that plays havoc with our glucose.
So eat them up people, they are as good for you on the inside as they are on the outside.

Talk about a nutrition bomb of a dish. I seem to have included just about all the food families in one dish + a plethora of spices and herbs. I wanted to keep what can be a deceptively sneaky unhealthy dish, as healthy as I can without sacrificing flavor. 'Tis the season for stuffed cabbage but tired of the traditional Eastern European version with the raisins and brown sugar sweetened tomato sauce, I started out with the idea of stuffing the leaves with a beef stew-like mixture but with a few twists.

I needed to pump up the volume so I started with the main ingredient. I used a pork/turkey mix at about 1:2 ratio, used a brown & wild rice blend, added an assortment of spices I thought would go well with the meat mixture and rounded out the vegetables with roasted sweet potato.
For the gravy, a simple roasted turkey gravy that used the flavorful drippings instead of water. YUM!!

For those who have never eaten stuffed cabbage or have and weren't sure you would ever eat them again, you need to try this version.
The actual technique to blanch the cabbage is foolproof and requires nothing more than boiling a large pot of water and cutting out the core. The leaves will separate on their own and you simply remove them when they are pliable. Those leaves that are tough or unsuitable get used as bedding for the rolls. It keeps the rolls moist and separate, so they are easy to remove. So, so easy.

Rolls are placed in a baking dish, covered and placed in an oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours. This is also a perfect dish for your slow cooker. What I enjoyed the most about making this dish......the house did not smell like cabbage, it smelled like a spice garden and that is always a nice thing to come home too.

“I received free samples of California sweetpotatoes mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am
entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Sweetpotato Council and am eligible to win prizes
associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

The Covington variety of California Sweetpotato was used in the stuffing. This whole week I have had the pleasure of cooking with three different varieties of California Sweetpotato.

Stuffed Cabbage
makes 4-6 servings

* 1 large California Sweetpotato, roasted, peeled and mashed
* 1/2 pound ground pork
* 1 pound ground white turkey meat
* 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
* 2 eggs
* 1 package brown & wild rice mix (about 1 cup)
* 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
* 1 tablespoon both butter and olive oil
* 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* White wine
* 1 large head green cabbage, core removed
* 1 can tomato-vegetable drink
* 1-1/2 cups roasted pork or turkey gravy (I used a packet of both)

Slow cooker stoneware insert with lid
or, Dutch oven with lid
or, large casserole pan with foil 

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to boil.
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Cut the core out of the head of cabbage but leave it whole.

1. Place the cabbage in the water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove all the leaves that are soft and pliable, to a platter, lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the larger leaves are blanched and remove the cabbage to a plate.
2. Roast the sweetpotato while the cabbage cooks.
3. Heat a fry pan and melt 1 tablespoon of both butter and olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until they are caramelized and soft. Add the wine and the seasonings and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and cool.
4. In a large bowl, add the mashed California sweetpotato, the pork, turkey, eggs, rice mix, onion mixture and cheese. Stir and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
5. Place the large first few thick leaves in the bottom of a bake pan.
5. Cut the core out of the larger cabbage leaves, in a v-shape cut, about 1" into the leaf.
6. Lay a leaf on a work surface and spoon a large amount of filling on to the bottom middle of the cabbage.
Roll the core side up and over the filling, while bringing the sides up and over the core, rolling until the filling is tightly encased in the cabbage leaf.
7. Place the cabbage rolls side-by-side in the baking pan. When that is full, add the rest of the unused, smaller cabbage leaves over the stuffed rolls (saving a few for the top) and repeat until all the meat mixture is gone. If there are no more leftover leaves, you could use a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit.
8. Pour the tomato-vegetable juice over the cabbage rolls and cover the pan tightly.
Bake for 2 hours, piercing a roll with a knife after 90 minutes to test for doneness. If the knife hits no resistance, the cabbage rolls are done. 
9. Remove the rolls to a platter and tent to keep warm. Remove the used cabbage and drain the drippings. Make your gravy using the drippings.


Curry said...

I grew up on stuffed cabbage. These look amazing...so creative!-Serena

Kelly said...

Yum! This is such a tasty looking recipe, and very creative, too!

Ashley @ TheFreshBeet said...

Way to get creative with stuffed cabbage! These look delicious :)