This is a fusion comfort food dish I dreamed up. It started with albondigas, or Latin meatballs. I've made regular/Italian meatballs and Chinese dumpling before, but never albondigas. I figured it was time to try, but I didn't want to just do meatballs, so I thought about using it as a filling for cabbage rolls.
So here is the filling: 1 pound ground beef, 1 cup cooked rice, 2 eggs (beaten), 5 cloves garlic (minced), 1/2 onion & 1 carrot (small dice), cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Testing the taste/spice level meant microwaving small bits at a time and tasting/adjusting accordingly.
For the cabbage part I chose to use napa cabbage - it's crunchier and I was curious how it would taste. Boiled the leaves in chicken broth until they softened.
Filling was spooned on was the leaves rolled up. Then the rolls went into the oven to cook, for about half hour or so until the meat was done.
To serve, I didn't want to do rice because there was already rice in the filling. So I decided to do orzo, which is like rice-shaped pasta. The marinara was kind of a lazy man's marinara: cooked mirepoix in chicken broth, pureed it, then added tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
The chicken on top is optional - the dish is good with or without it. But together the whole thing is very comfort food. The cabbage rolls are great though - juicy and crunchy and filling. You could easily make this a soup dish too, more like traditional albondigas, and it'd be just as filling probably, with some tortillas.
There was leftover filling, so I added finely chopped cabbage and scallions and converted it to dumpling filling. Nothing went to waste :)