Sunday night just as I was about to fire up the grill, the skies opened, lightning flashed and the universe decided that I would NOT be cooking outside. I had already planned our meal and did not really have a back-up plan, so once again I was forced to punt. I looked to see what was available for a really quick supper. I found a head of cabbage in the laundry room fridge that was on its last leg, and I had a couple of cooked chicken pieces on the bone along with about a cup of scrappy bits that had fallen off a chicken carcass I used for broth making. Thankfully I remembered seeing a Pinterest post about making wrapper-less egg rolls. ( Philosophical question here: Is is possible to have wrapper-less egg rolls since the wrap defines the roll?) I could have searched Pinterest, but I was feeling lazy so I pulled out an old recipe I have had for years for the real thing and figured I could do whatever adjustments I needed to for it to be Whole 30 compliant.
Egg Roll Innards
1 medium onion, julienned
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil ( the original recipe uses peanut oil for its high smoking point)
1 lb ground pork ( I used minced chicken instead)
1 small head of cabbage, coarsely grated or chopped ( can use a combination of regular cabbage and boy choy)
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 whole bamboo shoot, grated ( Use the canned stuff, it works fine)
I cup bean sprouts (didn't have any so didn't use any)
1 small can water chestnuts, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos (for the whole 30 thing)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste ( err on the side of too much rather than too little)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Chow mein noodles ( those in a can or bag)
Heat the oil in a skillet of wok. Begin sautéing the onion first, then add the garlic and cook them until they are both crisp tender. Add the garlic, give the pan a couple of quick stirs and remove the aromatics form the pan. ( If using a wok just push them up very high on the side of the pan) Add the raw ground pork and cook until it loses its pink. (If using cooked chicken just let it slightly warm and then remove it ) Remove it from the pan and toss in the cabbage and remaining vegetables in. Cook stirring the whole time until they are crisp tender. Add the onion mixture and meat back into the pan and add the chicken broth and soy sauce. Stir, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook until the cabbage is the texture you would like. Serve in bowls over chow mein noodles or just in a bowl to be honest to the whole 30 program. ( Living honest here in a different way, I had no chow mein noodles so TheHub ate his over pita chips)
I was really surprised at how tasty this was. Ours was a little overcooked because some nameless people who eat here do not believe when I tell them supper will be up in 10, means 10 minutes not 25. Keeping cabbage warm for an additional 15 minutes changes the texture. Other than being a tad too done it was delicious and tastes pretty much like the innards of a traditional egg roll. Next time I will use ground pork since it it what is used most often and the pork flavor would enhance the cabbage. I also think I will add a little more ginger and another 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
If you need to punt one night this is a pretty decent thing to put with.
p.s. you might have noticed the red peppers in the picture. I had one small red bell pepper that was about to die in the crisper drawer, so I chunked it up and tossed it in the last few minutes of cooking time as an afterthought.
Go think outside the box and cook something delicious!