Japanese Layered Cabbage Casserole
This recipe has been bookmarked for several years but I often either forgot about it or wasn’t in the mood for it when I did remember. I’m glad I finally made this as its simple, light and satisfies my craving for soupy rice. This does make quite a bit and lasted us for 3-4 meals (8-ish servings). If you don’t like eating the same thing for a while, you might want to halve the recipe or invite some friends over.
I used nutmeg in the original recipe but didn’t love the flavor so I will leave it out next time (and in the recipe below). I also prepped this the night before in a crockpot and turned the hotpot on low before I left for work the next day. By the time I got home (8-9 hours later but a little more or less time probably doesn’t matter much), it was perfect. If you have less time, this can be assembled in a large Le Creuset.
Layered Cabbage Casserole (barely adapted from Just Hungry)
- 1 medium to large cabbage
For the stuffing:
- 1 onion, finely chopped or pulsed in food processor
- 1 carrot, finely chopped or pulsed in food processor
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 firm tofu (10.5 oz), crumbled or pulsed in food processor
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or 1 cup cooked rice)
- salt & pepper to taste
For the sauce/cooking liquid:
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tbs tomato paste
- 3 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 Tbs sake or sweet sherry
- 1 Tbs white wine or rice vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme or a sprig of thyme
- 1 Tbs miso paste or 2 packets instant miso soup
- more salt & pepper to taste
- Start a large pot of salted boiling water. Next to it, set up a colander and a plate.
- Peel the cabbage leaves trying to keep the pieces as large as possible. If the stalk is thick and makes taking the leaves off too difficult, just shave it down so you can continue to peel. Blanch the cabbage leaves for a few minutes in the boiling water, place in colander, and let cool.
- In another bowl, combine all the stuffing ingredients and mix well.
- In the bottom of your Le Creuset or crockpot, line your ugliest little leaves in a thin layer. Now start layering your cabbage and stuffing until the pot is almost full. Tuck the sides in as you go, to tighten the layers and give it a cabbage/cake shape. Save the largest leaves for your top layer.
- Combine the cooking liquid ingredients. Taste and season before pouring over your cabbage layers. The liquid should barely cover the top of the cabbage cake. If it doesn’t, add some water or chicken broth to make it so.
- At this point, you can add an oven-proof plate to weigh everything down through cooking to tighten up the layers. I didn’t do this and it was fine.
- If you’re cooking this in a crockpot, you can set it now or later for at least 8 hours on low. If you’re cooking this in a big pot, simmer for an hour or so until tender.
- Taste the soup at the end of cooking and season to taste.
- Slice into wedges and serve over rice. Be sure to spoon some of the soup over your rice!