I literally stumbled over this video while viewing another one sister Erin found for me about Shake ‘N Bake. (Yes, they still sell it!) But this one turned out to be a double-header Stuffed Cabbage exposée that I’m just champing at the bit to try!
The vid is from @scrumdiddlyumptitious on YouTube. And if it’s any indication of the consistent quality and creativity promulgated the perpetrator of this channel, I’m going to be coming back often!
Cabbage can be cautionary
Some folks love cabbage. In fact, it’s a staple of Eastern European and Asian cuisine. Think Cabbage Rolls, Cabbage Soup; Kimchi and Nappa Cabbage. But others – mainly from Western Europe and North America aren’t such big fans.
Of those who demure, I suspect the majority were intruduced to this highly-nutritious vegetable as a mushy, over-boiled, flavour-drained mess. I often hear cabbage nay-sayers describe the veggie they know as ‘slimy’, too. That’s the last way you should ever serve cabbage!
I love to fry it
I’ve submitted, for your approval, a number of Cabbage (and Brussels Sprouts) recipes over the years.
I love to sautée Cabbage in butter with rounds of Polish Kielbasa sausage and just enough salt to bring out the full flavour of the veg. Salt the dish to taste. It will probably take more salt than you initially thought to balance out the flavour.
I also love to oven-bake Brussles Sprouts. Just cut them in half longitudinally, toss in melted butter or Olive Oil, and arrange on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan in a single layer, cut sides down. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and just a little pepper. Bake at 325 F or 350F until fork tender.
Gotta try baking it…
But baking a whole head of Cabbage was a new one on me.
I learned how to make Cabbage Rolls from my Polish next door neighbour, Tadeusza. She was born on a farm in a small village south of Gdansk just in time to be 4 years old when the Second World War started. She learned the old ways of Polish cuisine from her mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters.
And one immutable truth of the old ways is that you always steam a whole head of cabbage to loosen the leaves in preparation for separating them to make the Rolls.
But for purposes of the @scrumdiddlyumptitious recipe for stuffed Cabbage, You first freeze the whole head of cabbage and then allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge. That softens the leaves enough to peel them back without making them limp. Then you stuff the cupped leaves with hand-formed patties of a meat-rich Cabbage Roll-type mixture and return them to their original position on the head.
Bake the thing in a broth (details of which can be found on the video) until fork tender right through to the centre. The broth forms a flavourful sauce while cooking. Cut in wedges to serve. Not only tastes great, but looks fantastic!
Another take on stuffing…
The second half of the video demonstrates how to hollow out a whole head of cabbage prior to stuffing it with a savoury filling of chopped cabbage, root veggies, onions and other goodies.
You leave a small (about 5 cm / 2 in.) hole in the bottom of the head, after taking out the core. Then use a single-bladed hand mixer to scrape down the inside of the head until there are 4 or 5 layers of outer leaves left.
The stuffing is cooked outside the cabbage. It’s a veggie mix of shredded cabbage shavings, onions, carrots and other root veggies. You can bulk up with rice if you wish. And you can add ground meat if you don’t want a vegetarian dish. Taste the stuffing for salt and pepper before placing it in the cabbage.
Bake in the oven at 325F – 350F until the remaining outer cabbage leaves are fork tender and the surface of the cabbage head is an umamiful golden brown. Cook it longer if you like a stronger umami flavour. But be careful not to burn it!
A few tips and hints…
As I said earlier (but it bears repeating), make sure you use enough salt (and pepper) to ensure that the true sweet/savoury flavour of the cabbage is fully expressed.
Serve alongside plenty of generously-buttered Light Rye or Sourdough Bread.
The dishes described in the video are both pretty juicy. Plan to serve them on plates with fairly high rims, or wide-rimmed soup bowls.
~ Maggie J.