Fun with Brassicas

I don’t know why, but suddenly I really enjoy cabbage. I don’t know if it’s my repressed German heritage creeping out, or that I finally found a good way to cook it (stuffed cabbage rolls in tomato sauce – yuck!) but it now ends up on my menus fairly often. Which is convenient, because cabbage holds up well in storage and would therefore fit easily into a grow-your-own scenario.

I am incredibly surprised that even sauerkraut qualifies in that list – I was almost ruined for sauerkraut by a 5th-grade class cooking demonstration featuring a casserole of mashed potato, ground beef, sauerkraut and bananas. I THINK the bananas were meant to cut the acidity of the sauerkraut but… no.  My husband kept extolling the virtues of “knoephla and kraut”, and as I have started enjoying more sour and pickled things, I thought I’d try it again. A local restaurant’s spaetzle + sauerkraut + corned beef + dijon cream sauce = AWESOME.

Bestest Sauteed Cabbage (for sides!)

  • 1/2 a firm green cabbage head, cored and sliced thin
  • a bit of oil
  • salt and pepper
  • up to 1 T white sugar if you want
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Heat the oil in a 12″ saucepan, and add the cabbage. Salt and pepper well, and add sugar if you like. (I don’t know if I agree with replacing the traditional bacon fat with sugar, but see if you like it.) Saute until tastily well-browned, maybe 10 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and cover to let steam until soft. Maybe add some bacon bits if you miss the old ways…

Russian Cabbage Baked with Feta 

From “Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook” by Anya von Bremzen. (Serves 6)

  • 1 head cabbage, 2.5 pounds, cored and slivered
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups finely crumbled feta
  • 1/3 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 – 2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 5 T butter, melted
  1. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry (using an UN-linty towel.)
  2. Heat the 3 T butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the cabbage until browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool until you can handle it easily.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and eggs, and mix into the cabbage. Add dill and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  5. Combine the feta and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle over the cabbage. Sprinkle the whole with paprika and the extra melted butter, and bake till bubbly and browned, 15 minutes.

 Cabbage Pie Soup!

The Winter Vegetarian, Darra Goldstein. Serves 8.

Dough

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream

Filling

  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1 small head cabbage (2.5 pounds), cored and slivered
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 T sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Pepper
  • ——
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 quart of your favorite vegetable broth

First, prepare the dough – blend the flour and butter together in a food processor or using a pastry blender, till about the size of fine cornmeal. Add the sour cream and mix until just blended and beginning to hold its shape. Split into two balls, wrap in wax paper, and chill for at least an hour.

For the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet, and stir in the cabbage. Cook covered over medium-low heat, until cabbage is softened. Uncover and cook further until liquid is evaporated.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Roll out half the dough into a rectangle 12×15″, to fit a 9×13″ pan. Add the filling, and cover with a second crust. Brush with beaten egg and bake until brown, 25 minutes. Cut into large squares.  Place a square into a large flat soup plate, then pour broth over. Serve at once.

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