Ground Pork Casserole: A Delicious Twist on a Classic Family Favorite

Are you searching for a mouthwatering dish that’s quick and easy to make? Look no further than this remarkable recipe for Ground Pork Casserole. Layered with a perfectly seasoned pork and rice mixture, tender cabbage, and topped with cheese, this delightful casserole is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re a cabbage roll enthusiast or simply love a good homemade meal, this recipe is a winner!

A Modern Take on a Traditional Dish

As a Romanian, cabbage rolls hold a special place in my heart and kitchen. They’re an essential part of any special occasion, but they can be quite labor-intensive to prepare. That’s where this cabbage roll casserole comes to the rescue! It captures the delectable flavors of traditional cabbage rolls but takes just a fraction of the time to make. No more tedious rolling and wrapping; this fantastic casserole provides all the deliciousness with much less effort. It’s the perfect addition to your recipe repertoire.

A spoonful of cabbage roll casserole

The Best Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe

Preparing this irresistible dish is a breeze. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • Ground pork (or ground beef, if you prefer)
  • Onion (white onion works best, but any type will do)
  • Garlic (adjust to your taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Dill (dry or fresh)
  • Paprika (smoked or regular)
  • Rice (uncooked, long grain, not instant)
  • Crushed tomatoes (or tomato passata)
  • Chicken broth (or substitute with veggie or beef broth)
  • Olive oil (or any other suitable cooking oil)
  • Cabbage (green cabbage is recommended, shredded using a mandoline or cut by hand)
  • Monterey Jack cheese (alternatively, mozzarella, provolone, gouda, or Swiss also work great)
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Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground pork and onion over medium heat until the pork is fully cooked. Break up the pork while stirring occasionally. Add garlic, salt, pepper, dill, and paprika. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the rice, crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is almost cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until softened (approximately 5 minutes).
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 9×13″ casserole dish with cooking spray.
  5. Begin layering the casserole: Spread half of the cooked cabbage on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top it with half of the pork mixture, followed by the remaining cabbage, and finally the remaining pork mixture. Cover the dish with foil.
  6. Bake the casserole on the middle rack for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Process shots showing how to cook the meat and rice mixture and how to soften cabbage for the casserole

Elevate Your Casserole with Extra Ingredients

One of the beauties of casseroles is their versatility. They’re the perfect canvas for adding extra ingredients or utilizing leftovers from your kitchen. Here are some fantastic options to consider:

  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Bell peppers
  • Green onion
  • Broccoli/cauliflower
  • Canned beans/chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

A serving of cabbage roll casserole in a white plate

Serving Suggestions

This cabbage roll casserole is a complete meal in itself, but you can enhance it further with additional side dishes. Consider pairing it with roasted Brussels sprouts, skillet green beans, parmesan roasted broccoli, or a refreshing kale and quinoa salad with lemon vinaigrette.

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Overhead shot of cabbage roll casserole in a casserole dish with a serving spoon inside

Leftovers and Storage

If you find yourself with leftovers, fear not! Transfer them to an airtight container or keep them in the casserole dish covered with plastic wrap. Leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or warm the whole casserole covered with foil in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 15 minutes or until heated through.

Freeze Now, Enjoy Later

Planning ahead? Freeze your unbaked casserole for future use. Assemble the casserole, cover it well with plastic wrap and foil, and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy it, let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two before baking. Remove the plastic wrap but keep the foil on, and bake for 50-55 minutes before adding the cheese. You can also freeze pre-baked leftovers. Just thaw them in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or oven.

A fork taking a bite from a serving of cabbage roll casserole in a white plate

Expand Your Casserole Horizons

If you’ve fallen in love with the concept of casseroles, we have more delectable recipes for you to explore. Indulge in a deconstructed stuffed pepper casserole, savor the flavors of Romanian cabbage rolls (sarmale), try the irresistible chicken bacon ranch casserole, dive into the delightful chicken enchilada rice casserole, delight your taste buds with the creamy Cajun pastalaya, satisfy your cravings with the classic tuna noodle casserole, indulge in the mouthwatering Mexican beef and rice casserole, or enjoy the comforting chicken tamale casserole. The possibilities are endless!

Discover the full recipe and more at Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.

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