Bulgur Wheat and Italian Sausage Stuffing

Now I know the above photo does not paint the most impressive picture but holy cow this was good! I initially made this Bulgur Wheat and Sausage Stuffing as a filling for cabbage rolls, but peeling cabbage leaves off whole is far easier said than done so we tossed the rabbit food aside and just ladled this deliciousness into bowls for our meal. 
Since “Cooking Light”, where this recipe is from, generally provides recipes that serve four-eight there was a small discussion within my two person abode whether or not to make the whole recipe. In the end we did and I am so glad, because we easily knocked out the additional four servings in a matter of days and neither one of us tired of it.
This recipe made me glad to have a food processor, because it requires that you cut celery, carrot, onion, mushroom and garlic into minuscule little pieces and doing that by hand can be a bit tedious. That potentially time consuming step aside this dish is straight forward to make, and well worth the effort to whip up even if you don’t have a speedy cutting contraption at your disposal. 

As I mentioned earlier this dish is supposed to be wrapped in cabbage leaves, it is also normally accompanied by a tangy tomato sauce. I made the sauce and unfortunately don’t have a photo of the dish with it but it was a nice complement to the earthy and savory flavors of the stuffing. I don’t think that it was a vital component though, and if I were to make this as a side dish for say Thanksgiving I might eschew the sauce along with the cabbage leaves. 

I served this with the tomato sauce spooned over top and accompanied by a glass of chardonnay and it was heaven. If you’re in for some excellent comfort food or searching for a new addition to your Thanksgiving menu look no further.

Whole Grain and Italian Sausage-Stuffed Cabbage Cooking Light May 2008 
Serves 6
2  cups  water
  • 1/2  cup  dried porcini mushrooms, crushed (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1 1/4  cups  uncooked bulgur
  • 2  teaspoons  butter
  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 2/3  cup  finely chopped celery
  • 2/3  cup  finely chopped carrot
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  pound  hot turkey Italian sausage
  • 12  large Savoy cabbage leaves
  • 2  cups  canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 2  teaspoons  brown sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in mushrooms; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.
Uncover pan; bring mushroom mixture to a boil. Stir in bulgur; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Spoon bulgur mixture into a large bowl.
Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add vegetables to bulgur mixture; cool slightly. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove casings from sausage. Crumble sausage into bulgur mixture; stir well to combine.
Add water to a large Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches; set a large vegetable steamer in pan. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage leaves to steamer. Steam cabbage, covered, 6 minutes or until tender and pliable. Remove cabbage from steamer (do not drain water). Rinse cabbage with cold water; drain and pat dry.
Working with one cabbage leaf at a time, place 1/2 cup bulgur mixture in center of leaf. Fold in edges of leaf; roll up. Repeat procedure with the remaining cabbage leaves and bulgur mixture to form 12 cabbage rolls. Stack rolls evenly in steamer.
Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat; bring water to a boil. Steam rolls, covered, 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
Combine tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and sugar in saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Serve sauce with rolls.
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