What I Made for Dinner :: Bierocks

I feel like cabbage gets a bad rap sometimes. Don't you think it has a reputation as an ingredient for "peasant food" or it's only used as filler? (Not to mention, it gives you gas!) I have no evidence to support this, but I feel like cabbage is not on the Favorite Veggies list in this country because, like its relative the Brussels sprout, it was often overcooked.

"mama Kawamoto" is my mom!
[Pickled Veggies by Mama Kawamoto is my mom's pickled cabbage.]
Clearly, though, it's a staple in many food cultures and it can be a versatile ingredient. Thinking back to my childhood, my mom used it in lots of foods: Okonomiyaki (Japanese), stuffed cabbage rolls (Europe and the Middle East), corned beef (every St. Patrick's Day), tsukemono (Japanese pickles), hoi kou rou (Chinese stir fry), etc.

And cabbage can be pretty good for you: 1 cup of cabbage has 19 calories and 2 grams of fiber. According to the SELF Nutrition Data website, it's "very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Calcium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese." Added bonus? It's pretty cheap.

I'm not sure why I haven't cooked with it much even though I'm accustomed to eating it in various ways and my kids like it. Leave it to Pinterest for inspiring me to try a new cabbage recipe. The picture below is the original Pin I found, and I guess the timing was right because I was in the mood for doughy pockets filled with meat and cabbage.

After a bit more research (you all do know that when I say "research" I actually mean "surf the web," right?), I adapted recipes from Mrs. and Mr. Bear's Kitchen and Fork Fingers Chopsticks.

  • 1 package puff pastry (dang, that stuff is hard to work with!)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper
  • melted butter

Chop the onions and garlic (it's hidden under there somewhere) and thinly slice the cabbage.

Cook the ground beef in some olive oil until it starts to crumble. Add the cabbage, onion, and garlic and sautee until the vegetables start to wilt. (Thank goodness for the new 6-quart pot my mother-in-law got me for my birthday!)
It cooks down to almost half pretty quickly. Salt and pepper generously.

Take the meat-cabbage mixture off the stove and let it cool a bit while you work with the puff pastry. (That's my little workhorse of a desk fan; I've had it for years, at least 20, I'd say.)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

I used frozen puff pastry dough and you must, must, must follow the directions on the box carefully. If it says to let it defrost on the counter for 40 minutes, it means only 40 minutes, not a minute longer! Seriously, I left it out not much longer than 40 minutes and it was way too defrosted; the layers of pastry wouldn't unfold properly and I had to refrigerate it again. Also, while you're working with the first sheet of pastry, leave the second sheet in the fridge so it stays cold. Otherwise it's impossible to work with.

Cut and roll the puff pastry into squares (I want to say mine were at least 6"x6" but I don't remember exactly) and fill each with the meat-cabbage mixture. (I had tons of filling left over so you may want to use another box of puff pastry and freeze any leftover Bierocks for another day.) Fold over the corners and seal the pocket tightly. Mine came out all differently shaped and sized ... sometimes I'm not one for the details.

Did I actually use a kid-size rolling pin? Why, yes, yes I did.

Butter makes lots of things better, don't you think? You can use an egg wash if you prefer, but I went all out and used butter.

Bake the Bierocks in the oven for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden. Serve hot!

Puff pastry is puffy!

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