March 20, 2013

I'm Engaged! (and German Cabbage Rolls)

Hi UFG'ers!
Big News! The Mailman put a ring on it! This week's awesomeness includes being 20 lbs down AND a ridiculously gorgeous engagement ring! I'm beyond thrilled.  I guess now it's time for UFG Bridal Bootcamp!

I spent some time in Germany in high school and ate. a. lot. ha! I think I gained about 15 pounds that summer! Fresh bologna, fresh rye bread and fresh butter - nothing's better! 
My time in Germany is the inspiration for today's recipe.  I recently found out that The Mailman likes cabbage! I thought he hated it - and I love it - so I never made it.  Well, my friends - game. changer.  
I love this recipe.  It uses a bit of beer (it is German, after all!), so make sure you use a good one.  No Miller or Bud Light here, ok?  I used one of my favorite Witbiers, and I suggest you do the same.

In Germany, these would usually use beef or pork, but I ground my own chicken and put in some mushrooms to keep the moisture in.  
Recipe after the jump! 

2 - 4 lb. head of cabbage
1 lb ground chicken (I ground my own, a few thighs, but mostly breasts)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
5oz diced mushrooms
1 tbsp dijon mustard (I used Chablis Mustard from Trader Joes)
pinch of marjoram
1 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 cup beer (I used a witbier, I would not recommend a dark beer)
1 tbsp tomato paste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut the end of the cabbage off, then cut the core out in a cone shape. You can try and detach some leaves at this point, but I found it a bit hard - so you want to put the whole cabbage in the water. Place the entire cabbage in the water and parboil for several minutes. After about five minutes, the outer leaves are loose enough to separate from the head. Use two spoons to gently tease the leaves apart. Remove them from the water and drain on towels. Try to remove about 16 leaves this way.

Now you want to mix the chicken, onion, garlic, diced mushrooms, dijon and marjoram. Use pepper to taste.
Lay a cabbage leaf on your work surface and cut the thick, middle vein out in a V-shape. It does not roll well and remains chewy.
Place about 2 tbsp of the meat mixture in a long meatball form on the thin part of the leaf and wrap like a burrito - folding the sides in as you roll it. Place toothpicks as needed to keep it together.

In a large pot, sprayed with nonstick spray, brown the cabbage rolls on both sides - then remove.
Add the tomato paste and some extra chopped onion if you have it to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Add the broth and beer to deglaze and mix well.
Add the cabbage rolls back into the pan, cover with a lid and braise for about an hour - a little less if they are less thick.
Remove the cabbage rolls to your serving dish and reduce the sauce by half, use a cornstarch slurry if needed.
Serve with sauce drizzled over the rolls.

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