It looks as though food prices will remain high for the foreseeable future. And the collapse of the Russia/Ukraine grain agreement and the Indian ban of rice exports just make the situation worse. But there is one fresh veg we can turn to for relief…
Perfectly sautéed green cabbage and Polish sausage. A staple at hour house!
Just to keep abreast of the food price situation, I scanned the online price list of Loblaw’s, Canada’s biggest supermarket chain. As expected, prices for most fresh produce were anywhere from 3 to 4 times what they used to be, pre-COVID. But this post is not about why food prices are so high, and remain fantastically high. It’s about making an end run on the marketplace and working within the system to save money.
You can still afford Cabbage
Unique among the fresh produce items you’ll find in virtually every supermarket, cabbage has increased the least in price over the past 4 years. As of today, Loblaw’s is advertising regular Green Cabbage at $2.84 per kg / $1.29 per lb. Average weight of a single head is 2.68 kg. That translates to a price of about $4.77 per head.
One medium head of Green Cabbage will generously feed 4. That translates to a little over a dollar a person for the main ingredient!
Note: Napa Cabbage – the universal Asian style cabbage – is on sale until the end of the month at an average of $3.67 per head. Definitely a viable alternative!
I’ve dug up three recipes for cabbage mains that should help you get a start down that road.
This one comes originally from Poland. Hence the inclusion of sizzled sausage coins. It’s really easy, and I’ve never known anyone who didn’t like it – once they got past any initial aversion to cabbage. The stuff is like a whole different veg once you cook it!
You may wish to add medium-sliced sweet onions for an additional dimension of flavour. And don’t forget to add garlic (as much as you like).
The secret is the butter (for flavour) and the Fennel or Caraway seeds. Both are brilliant adornments to cabbage.
Prep time is just 20 minutes.
A summer staple for grilled suppers. I always assumed it originated in Germany, where cabbage is king. But it’s actually of Dutch extraction.
No slaw is complete without shredded carrot. But from there, you can go anywhere you like, experimenting with flavours from around the world. Among the familiar flavour friendlies are Apples, Nuts, Carrots, Onions, Caraway and Fennel. Most folks (me included) also add Celery Seeds.
But don’t miss all the great exotic variations you’ll find among the Asian cuisines. Don’t splurge for Napa Cabbage. It will be called for in all Asian recipes. But the idea is to save some green. Just keep in mind that regular Green Cabbage will take a little longer to soften up and absorb the key flavours of any dish.
Truth is, you can put anything you want in a Coleslaw: I’ve seen them with slivers of varicoloured Sweet Peppers, fresh or pickled Hot Peppers, Snow Peas slivered on the bias, Asian style, matchsticked Bamboo Shoots or Lychees, and even Mandarin Orange sections…
Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes.
Vinaigrette or Creamy?
Your choice, of course.
And you probably have your own favourite dressing for summer crunchy-veg salads!
Another one of those unique Filipino standards! This one uses Vermicelli or Rice noodles, regular green cabbage and some supporting players like onions and carrots.
The official recipe also calls for 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken breast. You can go lighter on the protein of you want top control costs. The real flavour experience and enjoyment factor comes from the noodles and cabbage. Or you can substitute chopped nuts, tofu or whatever you wish, rather than investing in sky-high animal protein.
No overall flavouring is called for in the authentic recipe: I suggest you add some miso or increase the amount of soy sauce called for. If you like your Asian foods hot, try adding just a soupçon of Thai red or green Pepper Paste in the pan when sizzling the onions. Or shake in a few drops of your favourite hot sauce.
Fast and easy to prepare. Reheats nicely. This fun dish will fill up the biggest eaters in your house.
Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes.
The Garlic factor
The recipes suggested above all call for garlic. Be sure to have lots of fresh garlic in the house before embarking on any expedition into the world of cabbage. There’s no substitute for freshly minced or pressed garlic!
Now, cruise the world…
… Sampling cabbage dishes from all corners of the globe.
~ Maggie J.