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Crockpot Kale Rolls – Ode to Kalua Pig

Crockpot Kale Rolls












I don’t often find myself sitting on the couch at 9am in the morning, but this day called for a bit more rest.  So I very leisurely sipped coffee enjoying a few moments of downtime before I headed off to the next project waiting for attention.  Television for entertainment has become fairly limited so when I stumbled upon No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain I at least felt I could chill while watching his adventure in Hawaii.  The problem with these shows is that I am always assaulted by the amazing foods they showcase and then sigh with helplessness at not being able to taste the wonders being eaten with abandon.  In Hawaii they have this native dish, and for those of you that know me know I love a native dish, prepared with banana leaves and pork called Kalua Pig. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? This dish was traditionally prepared by cooking in an underground pit and served on large banana leaves.  The term Kalua refers to cooking in the earth.  These underground ovens were used to cook or steam foods and were traditionally used in Polynesian cooking.  Using the green leaves helps to create the steam leaving the meat tender and falling apart with goodness.  ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Here’s where I go off script…I have neither a pork shoulder (or whole pig for that matter), nor banana leaves.  My improvisation led me to a lovely dish using a mixture of pork pan sausage and hamburger mixed almost like meatballs and wrapped in curly kale very similar to the cabbage rolls I grew up on.  I would love to try this using collards when they are available again!  Fishing around my kitchen for ingredients, I came up with the below recipe and it turned out smashingly!  I have to admit that using the curly kale was a bit more difficult than using perhaps a russian kale, but it still worked and tasted fantastic!  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we have.  I love using the crockpot for evenings we are not able to cook and this was one such evening we wouldn’t be home to prepare a good meal.  There is nothing better to me than coming home and having a warm meal ready to eat.  Thank you crockpot…


Crockpot Kale Rolls
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
  1. 1lb each ground beef and ground pan sausage
  2. 1 bunch kale, stem and vein removed
  3. 1/2 cup uncooked rice (optional)
  4. 1 tblsp cumin
  5. 1 tblsp coriander
  6. 1-1/2 cups marinara or homemade tomato sauce
  7. 1 quart homemade chicken stock or mixture stock & water
  1. Pour marinara and half the quart of stock into the bottom of your crockpot. Place the hamburger and sausage in a bowl. Add uncooked rice, cumin and coriander and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Taking your kale leaf, add a small scoop of the meat mixture and roll up. Place the rolls into the crockpot with the folded sides facing down. This will help keep the rolls together during cooking. Once all the rolls are in place (about 2-3 layers) gently pour in the remaining broth, stopping short of covering the top layer of rolls. Set to high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours. I did not need to salt & pepper as there was plenty in the pan sausage but if needed salt & pepper to your taste.
  1. My husband likes cheese on everything so I shredded a bit of raw cheddar on his. You could also top with sour cream, but I loved it just as is. Enjoy!
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