Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chinese Smoked Pork Cabbage Rolls [Zack]

Sometimes mistakes in the kitchen work in your favor. Shopping in a Flemish supermarket requires a good amount of skill - you need to be able to recognize cuts of meat by sight if you can’t read the packaging. I was in a hurry and grabbed 2 pork loins but accidentally got the “cold smoked” version.  They call it "Ardeneese" because it's of the style of the southern Belgian Ardenne mountains.  Cold smoked looks very similar to the non-smoked version because no heat is used in the smoking process. Therefore, you don’t get any browning on the meat and it’s hard to tell the difference.

I was taking pictures of the ingredients for the website and noticed that the pork loins were very shiny. When I picked one up, I noticed there was a pellicule on the outside and immediately realized I ended up with a smoked version. A combination of perfect daytime lighting for pictures, stubbornness, and the grocery store closing at 1pm on a Sunday helped create this recipe.

I used a dish from Particolare (one of my favorite restaurants in Antwerp) as inspiration for this recipe. They stuffed cabbage leaves with a rich Italian pork filling and then steamed them. I loved the idea and wanted to try it with an Asian twist.


Gather your ingredients for your mise en place.

Dice and cut your vegetables so you have a proper mise. While you are doing this, heat up an oven-proof pot to medium heat.  Add 2 T of oil to the bottom of the pan and brown your pork loins on all sides for about 2 mins per side.

Remove the loins to a nearby plate and add in your vegetables including the ginger and garlic. Saute these for about 5 minutes, then add the pork back in.

Then, put in your stock, vinegar, the remaining sesame oil, and Hoisin sauce. Bring to a simmer, then place into a pre-heated oven at 300 F / 175 C.

Cook for 3-4 hours (depending on the thickness of your loins) until you can easily slide a knife into the pork. Think very tender BBQ rib texture….

Take the pot out of the oven, remove the pork and pull it with a fork (or your fingers) and then mince.

Put the vegetables and sauce into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add back to the minced pork.

Here’s how to wrap them in your lettuce leaves:

Start a pot with some water and bring it to a simmer. Cut out the stem from the cabbage so it frees up the leaves a bit. Roll the cabbage around in the water until you can easily peel off the top leaf. You will be able to do 1 per minute or so depending on how fast your water is going.

Take each leaf and place a heaped tablespoon-sized amount of filling into the leaf.  Fold the bottom up over the pork, then fold the top down, then fold the sides in.

Set up a steamer in about an inch of boiling water.  Steam the rolled cabbage for 10 minutes (or until the leaves are softened and the contents are heated through.  Serve and enjoy!


3 T Hoisin Sauce
1 cup chicken stock
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T sesame oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 medium onions chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
1.5 inches minced fresh ginger
3 birdseye chiles (to taste)
1 T salt
2 Smoked Pork tenderloins (Ardeneese), or use regular if you can't find

Creativity options:

You can stuff cabbage leaves with whatever you want.  It's similar to making your own gyoza or ravioli.

  • Italian style - use normal pork loins, and omit the Hoisin sauce, sesame oil and ginger.
  • Add tomato sauce to the above instead of chicken stock
  • Slow cook sausages and red peppers together in stock or beer.  Dice, then wrap.
  • Don't steam the leaves and make "PF Chang" style lettuce wraps.  Add some cashews!
Song:  Robin Thicke - Jus Right

1 comment:

  1. Pellicule... Really???

    For the benefit of future readers:
    pellicule (plural pellicules)

    (1). A thin diaphanous fabric.
    (2). skin, as of an onion or other plant