New Year's Cabbage Casserole

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by Frank Davis

wwltv.com

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 1 at 9:09 AM

1/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley mixture
1/2 pound lean centercut bacon, chopped
Hot bacon drippings
1 medium-large head cabbage, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, 10 ounces
1 teaspoon Frank Davis Pork Seasoning
2 teaspoons Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup instant rice

In a heavy 5-quart Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium-high heat (but do not let it burn!) and combine it with the olive oil.

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 chopped bacon and fry it 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 so that each piece is completely and uniformly coated with the butter and seasoned bacon mixture. In short order, it will all wilt and fit nicely.

When all the cabbage is in the pot, stir in the chicken stock and the Rotels and mix them thoroughly into the dish as well.

Now immediately season the pot with the pork and the vegetable seasonings, as well as the sea salt and black pepper to taste.

It’s at this stage when everything is transferred from the pot to a disposable “half-hotel” aluminum baking pan.

Once evenly distributed in the pan, cover the cabbage tightly with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and slide the pan into a preheated 350-degree oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the cabbage is tender-crisp.

This is when the final step takes place.

Simply pour evenly into the pan the cup of instant rice and uniformly distribute it throughout the cabbage.

Then put the foil back on the pan and allow it to “sit” for about 15 minutes until almost all of the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

Mary Clare says this 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 the perfect accompaniment to your New Year’s dinner but it also doubles as a complete one-dish meal.

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Chef’s Note:

“Tender crisp” means that the vegetables are not raw, but they are not cooked to a softened mush either.

Make sure they still have texture when they’re served.

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