I make a stuffing with minced pork. Once you get the basic idea down you can use it to stuff peppers, squashes, marrow, and even cabbage leaves.
There's no hard and fast rules. The basic idea is combining a variety of veg and herbs with minced pork and rice. Older recipes for these kinds of recipes were too meat-heavy for me. A friend introduced me to this lighter veg and rice type. It's so quick and yummy.
Here's an example stuffing we did on Thursday night for stuffed cabbage (for Ukranian Christmas
. Sorry - my way of writing recipes isn't that great! Just trying to picture how I did this all.
Set oven to pre-heat. 180 degrees celcius.
Fill the kettle and boil it.
Cook long grain white rice:
- 2 mugs full of your boiled water into your hot sauce pan/pot.
- 2 tbs oil
- 1 mug full of rice (throw oil and rice into boiling water)
- Boil for 7 mins covered (use a timer)
- Remove from heat and keep covered for another 7 mins.
Wilt the cabbage
- Pop the kettle to get that water hot again if you need to.
- Clean and pick the best outer leaves of a head of cabbage. I did about 12 leaves.
- Cut a "v" to remove the hard spine of the leaves.
- Put into a big pot
- Pour over boiled water, and cover. These will sort of steam. You can turn the pile over later to make sure they all get in the hot water. You don't need to cook them, but to make them bendy.
Begin to cook minced pork.
- If you have another person handy, they can mind that while you chop all the vegs
- I'm not sure on the amount. Maybe 1-2 cups full?? Depends on how meaty you want it. It shrinks quite a bit as you already know. We used 2 cups because we had folks over for dinner.
- I sometimes put in some white wine to the pork if I have it.
Considering all the veg, if you have a food processor, it's ideal. With that said, I only bought a food processor last week and I've been making stuffing like this for years without one.
Chop rather finely
- 1 onion
- Bunch of curly or flat parsley, hard stalks removed - parsley makes it so nice
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 cups of mushrooms (really it was a small tesco punnet, not sure the weight).
- 1 carrot
Crush and chop a handful of hazelnuts. This is awesome, make a nice crunchy texture. (I leave nuts out if I'm doing a stuffed marrow because it's good all soft.)
When the pork is nearly cooked, add the veg to cook with it. Make up a 1/2 cup of veg or chicken stock, add that to the pork and veg. Put in a few tables spoons of tomato paste if you have it. You just want to soften and flavour the veg.
I like to add dried herbs like thyme. And depending on what I'm stuffing, I might add oregano (if stuffing peppers).
Now add some of the rice which should be ready now. Add rice by the 1/2 cup full until it looks like a good mix. (I never know ahead of time how it's going to come out, heh. I had about 3/4c of rice leftover, which doesn't bother me, since I used it the next day for a soup.)
Taste it, add some salt and pepper at this stage. (If you add salt sooner, you can over salt the whole thing).
So it's all pretty much cooked. I dunno, I think you can do the whole thing raw maybe- but I'm pork paranoid.
Place 1/4 c of stuff into the center of a cabbage leaf and fold in the sides and roll to close. Place open side down into an oiled baking dish. (like you use for lasagne). Just keep on going until you are done with all the leaves.
Add 1/2 cup of stock to the dish, and then cover with one can of chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle on some black pepper and salt. You can also use passata too.
Pop the whole thing in the oven, takes about 30 mins. The leaves will cook, and the tomato sauce will dry and concentrate unless you cover it, in which case it will stay saucy and nice.
Once you get the basic idea of this kind of stuffing you can use it and vary it. For example:
- If you're stuffing peppers, then skip the stock and tomato- and cover with breadcrumbs and grated cheddar cheese.
- If you do a marrow, cover with a thick white sauce. (normal bechamel, with nutmeg, and just make it very thick).
These recipes here look good:
(replace pork for beef, it's good)
Greek stuffed veg recipe, with rice and almonds (no meat, but you could add pork!
Oh and pro-tip; You can freeze any extra stuffing to use another time; or you can freeze the stuffed cabbages individually wrapped at the stage before baking. You can then heat them up in a pan with a shallow water to steam for a quick lunch!
I hope that inspires you to try some stuffing