In the Cabbage Patch

In the Cabbage Patch

I often find that some of the real work horses of the kitchen are the ones prone to bad reputations. One prime example: cabbage. Despite its versatility and health benefits, it also happens to be the main ingredient of a horrible crash diet, an international symbol of poverty, known to cause gas, and can conjure up memories of lingering foul cooking odors. But cabbage is wonderful! It can be broiled, baked, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, and pickled. I dare you to give up coleslaw, sauerkraut or kimchi — all delicious, and full of cabbage.“But Jackie, I hate all three of those things,” you might be thinking. Fine, you hate all of those things. But I won’t be deterred. Whether it wants one or not, cabbage has a friend and that friend is me. I’m gonna give you five cabbage recipes you can’t refuse. Drum roll please.

1: Garbure
Doesn’t the French just roll off your tongue? Garbure is a rich, French stew, full of vegetables (including about two pounds of cabbage) and usually bacon and duck. Keeping in line with cabbage’s humble background, garbure is considered peasant food. This rich recipe courtesy of Chef Daniel Boulud features both pancetta and confit of duck leg.
2: Golubsty
Winging our way around Europe, our next stop is Poland where stuffed cabbage rolls, golubsty, or galumpkis reign supreme. Let a cabbage hang out in hot water for a few minutes and the leaves become pliant, ready to be wrapped around a savory mixture of meat, onions, and rice. Simmer in a mixture of tomatoes for just under an hour and enjoy. One of my favorite recipes is from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  Non meat eaters should give these vegetarian cabbage rollsa try.

3: Kapusta
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine sent me a message bragging about kapusta. It seemed he was visiting family in Michigan and came across a café serving up fresh kielbasa with this comforting side dish. Another Polish specialty, kapusta is a dish marrying fresh cabbage with its fermented brother, sauerkraut. Add in mushrooms, onions, and occasionally bacon and slowly simmer or bake for at least an hour. A few recipes call for a slow-cooker, while others recommend the stove top. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

4: Pada Gobhi
Eastern Europe isn’t the only spot with a love for cabbage. In Indian cuisine cabbage, or pada gobhi, is paired with coconut, stirred into curries, even eaten as a sandwich. There are even cabbage dumplings called koftas, fried and eaten with spicy gravy.

5: Kulebjaka
Usually borscht gets all the cabbage love when thinking about the Eastern Bloc, but I just couldn’t go on without mentioning the Russian cabbage pie kulebjaka. Sautéed cabbage layered between flaky crust, you can’t go wrong!Have you been converted into a cabbage appreciator? I thought so.

The Chaser:
Is anyone else feeling overloaded on St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes? Here is the most ridiculous cupcake I could find — now with Lucky Charms!!

Food Republic just released their Craft Beer Power Rankings — shout out to Eugene’s own Ninkasi for making the cut!

Ever get kitchen envy? Check out the kitchen tours over at The Kitchn — best timewaster of the week.

Photo: Artotem