This is the perfect dish to serve as an accompaniment to your Christmas roast. Real “comfort food” of the highest order, it’s done in about 30 minutes and comes together in only one pot. Actually, it’s so good that if this one dish were all you had on the holiday table as the whole meal, you still wouldn’t be able to eat just one serving!
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups chopped vegetable mirapoix
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1 small head cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, 10 oz.
1 can tomato sauce, 15 oz.
1 tsp. Frank Davis Pork Seasoning
1 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup instant rice
In a heavy 4-quart Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium-high heat (but do not let it burn!).
Then add to the pot the onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, and garlic mixture and sauté it until the veggies become transparent and wilt slightly.
When they’re at that stage, drop in the beef and pork and fry the meats down until fully browned and totally incorporated into the vegetable seasonings.
It’s at this point that the cabbage goes into the pot. You’re going to swear the pot is too small or there’s just too much cabbage. But have faith! Simply add the cabbage a heaping handful at a time, tossing it over and over in the pot with tongs so that each piece is completely and uniformly coated with the butter and oil mixture. In short order, it will all wilt and fit nicely.
When all the cabbage is in the pot, stir in the Rotels and the tomato sauce and mix those ingredients thoroughly into the dish as well.
Immediately season the pot with both the pork and the vegetable seasoning, as well as the black pepper.
Then put the lid on the pot, reduce the fire to low, and simmer the cabbage for about 12-15 minutes or until a “tomatoey” liquid is visible and the cabbage is tender-crisp.
This is when the final step takes place. Simply pour into the pot the cup of instant rice and uniformly distribute it throughout the cabbage.
Then put the lid back on the pot, remove it from the hot burner grate, and allow it to “sit” for about 15 minutes until almost all of the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
Mary Clare’s Christmas Cabbage Casserole is best served immediately when cooking is complete, but it’s also pretty doggone good reheated in the microwave for service later. It makes a nice accompaniment to almost any entrée and can also double perfectly as a one-dish meal, indicative as a true comfort food.
“Tender crisp” means that the cabbage isn’t raw, but it isn’t cooked to a softened mush either. Make sure it still has texture when it’s served.