Uses from Broad Wing Farm Share(s): Napa Cabbage, Scallion,
(Lion) > Squash, Fennel
Shopping List: Pink Peppercorns (black can be used if pink unavailable) 1lb ground pork, 1 pkg bacon, red wine vinegar, 1 qt chicken broth, 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, (Fox)> 1-2 small zucchini or yellow squash, 2-3 small fennel bulbs
Special Equipment: Pepper Mill to grind peppercorns**, medium sized baking dish
IngredientsNapa Cabbage Head | base removed, leaves gently separated1# Ground Pork |6 bacon slices | chopped, reserved in half
2-3 Fennel Bulbs | Fronds/stems removed**, base removed, cut in half, core removed with a small sharp knife, fennel diced smallBulb Garlic | 2-3 cloves, base removed, chopped fine½ bunch scallions | chopped, green & white ends1/8 tsp Grated Nutmeg |Salt to taste ¼ tsp Ground Pink Peppercorns (or more) to taste
1 medium yellow onion | chopped small
1-2 celery stalks | chopped small
1-2 small squashes | cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed with the quick scrape of a teaspoon, seeds discarded, squash chopped into small pieces1 tbsp red wine vinegar |
1 28oz can | Crushed Tomatoes1 cup chicken stock |1- 2 bay leaves |
Prepare the Cabbage: Shingle about 12 cabbage leaves into a heat safe medium bowl. (set aside remaining core & leaves for use later)
Boil a full teapot of hot water. Pour over cabbage leaves in bowl, ensuring leaves are covered with the hot water (place a small plate on top to weigh down leaves if necessary). Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Carefully drain hot wat from cabbage. Put a tray of ice cubes in the bowl with the cabbage & cover with cold water. Allow to stand in fridge for 30 minutes, then drain cabbage, pat leaves dry, & set aside at room temperature.
In a heavy bottom medium sized skillet or sauté pan, set half the chopped bacon on medium high heat. Grind in a turns of pink peppercorns (or black pepper). When bacon begins to cook & grease starts to render, add ground pork & fennel. Cook until almost brown, stirring & scraping the bottom as needed to avoid sticking. When nearly brown, add garlic, scallions, nutmeg, salt, & generous grinds of pink peppercorn (if using black, season to taste). When pork has cooked through, remove from heat. Allow to sit at room temperature, placing pan at a slant, so any excess grease drains forward & can be more easily removed.
In another medium skillet or sauté pan, set the other half of the chopped bacon on medium high heat. When bacon begins to cook & grease starts to render, add onion, celery, & squashes. Cook until onions are soft stirring & scraping the bottom as needed to avoid sticking. When pan starts to brown at the bottom, add any remaining cabbage leaves (sliced thin or stems removed & torn with hands), red wine vinegar & ½ the chicken stock, scaping the brown bits up. Then add remaining stock & crushed tomatoes. Allow to simmer on very low heat while preparing cabbage rolls (remove from heat when stock has evaporated, taste, & season with salt if needed).
Prepare the rolls: On a clean surface, lay out the cabbage leaves, the core side of the leaf facing you. Carefully spoon even amounts of the drained pork filling horizontally down the center of each leaf. To roll, fold over the left side of the leaf, then the right, so pork is covered on either side. Tuck up & over the core side of the leaf, pressing down the filling, then rolling up away from you, tucking in sides as needed. (rolls can be prepared a couple days in advance if desired, just don’t add to sauce until ready to serve).
Pre-heat oven to 375. Remove bay leaves from tomato sauce & pour a thin layer of sauce, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Carefully place rolls onto the sauce, holding the top of the roll closed with your fingers as you transfer. Cover with remaining tomato sauce.
Bake uncovered until sauce is simmering & slightly browned, rolls are heated through. Turning the dish once through the cooking process. Serve immediately. Garnish with a pretty drape of a fennel frond. Can be offered with buttered noodles, leftover cooked rice, a hunk of warmed chewy bread, or by itself!
** Fennel Fronds are pretty & edible as garnish, tossed in a green salad, or made into their own salad with citrus & beets. If you are a fan of fennel flavor, stems can be stuffed in the cavity of a roasting chicken, or left whole & added to a simmering pasta sauce, (remove before using finished sauce). Whole stems can also be added to the pan of a searing pork chop or throw a couple in your freezer bag of vegetable scraps.