Deconstructed Pigs in the Blanket

by Jillian on January 17, 2013 · 4 comments

One thing that I used to love that my Mom would make for dinner is pigs in the blanket. No, not the cocktail hot dogs.


Pigs in the blanket a.k.a. stuffed piggies a.k.a. stuffed cabbage is a traditional Polish recipe. My grandma on my Mom’s side, who unfortunately passed away before I was born, was Slovak. Both Polish and Slovak are Slavic heritages and share many of the same foods and recipes (thanks for the description, Mom!).

Recently, my Mom was telling me about her short cut for wrapping the piggies. Basically, throw everything in a pot.


Okay, not really, there is a method. But seriously, it’s so much easier than taking the time to wrap each one and it tastes the same!

I used grass fed beef with a 5 rating from Whole Foods Animal Welfare Standards and savoy cabbage because it’s sweeter.


Deconstructed Pigs in the Blanket

(because that’s what I like to call them)

  • 2 lb. ground beef (I used grass fed)
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste (1 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper should suffice)
  • 2 heads of savoy cabbage
  • 1 24 oz. bottle of organic ketchup*
  • 1 26 oz. box or can of strained tomatoes (I used Pomi)
  • Additional water in ketchup bottle (see directions)

* I used Organicville, which is made with agave nectar instead of sugar. I stopped buying Heinz when I realized that there was high fructose corn syrup in it. I then started buying Heinz organic, not because I wanted organic, but because I wanted to avoid the HFCS. Heinz now maked Simply Heinz, which contains no HFCS. This would suffice, but they didn’t have the size bottle I wanted for this recipe, so I went with Organicville because I was intrigued by the agave nectar. 

1. Combine the meat, onions, brown rice, eggs, and spices in a large bowl. Use your hands to mash it up if you have to. You will be making meatballs out of it, so your hands will get dirty anyway!

2. Tear up the leaves of the cabbage and begin to layer them at the bottom of a big stockpot.

3. Next, make large meatballs (1.5 inches in diameter) and layer them on top of the cabbage. Layer cabbage and meatballs until you run out of the meat mixture, making cabbage the last layer on top.

4. Add the strained tomatoes and entire bottle of ketchup to the pot. Dump it around the sides so it sinks to the bottom.

5. Fill the ketchup bottle up completely with water and shake it to get the access ketchup. Dump this into the pot. Fill it up 1 to 2 more times, depending on how watery or thick you prefer the sauce. You can always add more mid-cooking if it looks dry. I think I filled it 2.5 times but could have used a little more.

6. Bring the contents to a boil (med-high heat) and then reduce to a simmer (low-med to low). Let simmer for a few hours, but at least 2 to make sure it all cooks together. Check it occasionally when you see the cabbage wilting. You can let it simmer longer but obviously if the meat is cooked, you can eat it whenever.

Step 2:



Step 3:


The final outcome:


Now you can just spoon out however much you want. Thanks for my lazy genius mother for thinking of this. It’s also easier when packing it up to take for lunch.

I had enough for the week for lunch, some for topping sweet potatoes for dinner, and still had some leftover to freeze for a later date, I love having extra/leftovers!


  • What’s your favorite homemade dish that you had as a child?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life January 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

This actually sounds SUPER interesting, and even moreso because I have a head of cabbage sitting at home that needs to be used, haha. I may have to try this out!


2 Jillian January 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

It was tough because my Mom never really uses measurements, hence me suggesting and/or over explaining lol.. let me know if you try it!


3 Lauren January 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

My MIL (being Ukrainian) makes something similar. Gotta love those family classics!


4 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles January 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This looks really good! I don’t buy cabbage too often, but I may have to make an exception for this.

My mom makes an awesome beef stroganoff :-) I still ask for it when I go home!


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