Mmmmm, just looking at that picture makes me hungry. This is so delicious! I found this recipe in a book I got at Costco, a real find (if you ask me) since i got it for about 860 yen, and the retail price is about 3500 yen! I haven't made any other thing from this book, though, because it's all in Japanese. Now, I really don't have a lot of trouble with Japanese recipes, it's pretty easy to figure something out if you don't understand a word (especially if there are pictures), but the recipes in this book seem a little more complicated than simple Japanese homestyle cooking, and I haven't had a lot of time to commit to more recipes.
But this is a winner, something even my kids love. It's juicy, buttery and oh so yummy! The book is 手作り家庭料理, which (I think) roughly translate into 'handmade homestyle cooking'. (I would like to link to it on amazon.jp, but there's a lot of kanji in the address and isn't being co-operative in copying. Sorry) There are three sections to this book: Japanese, Western and Chinese. The simmered cabbage and ground pork is in the Western section.
I'd say this is similar to cabbage rolls, without the fiddly rolling and tying.
Simmered Cabbage and Ground Pork
6 to 8 large cabbage leaves
200 grams ground pork
1 small egg
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cups soup (chicken stock)
2 Tbsp. sake
1 tsp. salt
Soften cabbage leaves by blanching them (put the leaves in boiling water to cover, remove them when they begin to get soft, then place them in cold water to halt cooking.) If necessary, cut down (but not off) the hard white part in the middle of the leaf. Mince onion and carrot, and beat the egg. I grate the carrot using a fine grater.
As an aside, I just love this tool because it has several different cutting/grating options, plus the bowl has a tiny sieve at the top so you can put water in the bowl to immediately soak something you've cut, then just drain away the water.
Anyway, grated carrot:
In a bowl, combine the ground meat, carrot, onion, egg and a small amount of salt and pepper. Mix well.
(You can see my soft cabbage leaves in the back there.)
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over low heat. Put two or three cabbage leaves on the bottom, overlapping them a bit. Evenly distribute half of the meat mixture over the cabbage. Put two leaves over the meat, then the other half of the meat over that. Use the last of the leaves to cover the whole of it.
butter and cabbage
Add the soup, sake, salt and pepper.
Cover with a paper drop-lid and simmer over medium heat for about thirty minutes.
Carefully lift the whole out onto a plate, top it with a sprig of parsley if you like, and cut into sections like you would a pie. Enjoy!
I didn't quite cook enough cabbage leaves this time around, but I just got it all to fit together. As for the soup, I like to use "gara soup", which I think is a kind of Chinese chicken stock bullion. It's rather salty so I usually don't add a whole teaspoon of salt with the simmering liquid.