Pigs in a Blanket CasserolePosted: 24 February 2011
>In my world, pigs in a blanket have nothing to do with hot dogs or crescent rolls. No. Those are called wienie winks and they are not mini-hot dogs, but full sized hot dogs. Anyway, I digress. Pigs in a blanket is a baked dish, beef wrapped up in green cabbage, baked with cream of mushroom soup poured over the top. In fact, when I was younger and they referred to pigs in a blanket on television, I definitely thought they meant the cabbage dish. It’s something I’ve made before, but my biggest challenge is usually getting the cabbage leaves to peel off in one piece so I can wrap up the meat. I realized that if I made a few alterations, I could perfect the dish so that there is an even distribution of meat, cabbage and sauce. Thus, the casserole was born. Instead of wrapping up balls of meat in leaves, why not make an even layer of meat, topped with cabbage? It’s like a meat and cabbage lasagna that you only layer once.
Cabbage is an extremely underrated vegetable and I am not afraid to say that I adore it. Cabbage is awesome. Purple, white, winter, etc. It’s yummy in coleslaw and as a crunchy garnish on sandwiches and gyros. Braised with a bit of butter and salt, it’s an amazing side dish and can be easily mixed with meat and potatoes, other veggies, pretty much anything you can think of. And when you bake it or add it to soups, the leaves get so soft, they practically melt in your mouth. And to top it all off, cabbage is available year round and it’s cheap. Really, really cheap. What more could you want, right? But for some reason, cabbage often gets a response of ‘blah!’ from people. Who knows why but this girl loves the stuff. Luckily, Senor loves it too. Actually, there’s not much Senor doesn’t love. There have actually been a few things that Senor has insisted he didn’t like and then when I bullied him into eating the item, he realized he does like it. Triscuits come to mind. He insisted he hated them for the longest time. Last night he finished off our box of Triscuits as an after dinner snack. Clearly, he should just listen to me when I tell him something is delicious. I don’t know if Senor was ever opposed to cabbage, although I’m guessing he was. He used to dislike tomatoes after all. In any case, he likes it now and this is one of his favorite new dinners. Also, like a meatloaf, this is EASY to make and most of the time it’s baking, it requires nothing from you at all.
Even if you’re opposed to cabbage….just try to say no to melt-in-your-mouth gooey casserole that’s creamy and meaty all at the same time. Yeah, it can’t be done.
Pigs in a blanket casserole
For the meat:
1lb ground beef (grass fed is best, but you can also use regular, lean ground beef)
1lb ground pork (lower fat if possible to reduce grease in your casserole)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
dried parsley flakes
Combine the meat, egg, bread crumbs and seasons together and mix with your hands until the meat mixture is smooth. Layer the meat into an 8×8 baking dish (or 9×13 if you want a thinner layer of meat) and add the cabbage.
For the topping:
1 white/green cabbage, washed and unpeeled
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
Unpeel the cabbage in whole leaves as best you can. Don’t worry if they tear. Layer the cabbage leaves on top of the meat so they lay flat on the casserole. This doesn’t need to be pretty, so just layer on as evenly as you can and use as much of the cabbage as possible. Discard the core.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mushroom soup and the cup of milk. Once smooth, pour the mixture over the top of the cabbage leaves. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 or until the top layer of cabbage has started to crust and the middle of the mixture has started to bubble. Slice and serve with potatoes, crusty bread, or steamed veggies.