New Castle News

October 13, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Oh, what you can do with cabbage!

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — How many times have we heard, “Eat those veggies?”

And how many times have you said those words to your kids?

It’s not always easy to persuade someone to try broccoli or a Brussels sprout if there’s nothing tempting about either one in the first place.

But with a little cooking magic and creativity, vegetables can be a part of casseroles, prepared in interesting ways and dressed up so even the fussiest eater may take a second chance at it.

Speaking of the cabbage family, recently I had an opportunity to watch as members of Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church made cabbage rolls for fundraising. What’s not to like about cooked cabbage, stuffed with meat and rice, rolled up, topped with sauce and baked?

I didn’t ask for the exact recipe but watched as the workers went about their task — each one with a job to do.

I kept an old cookbook published by employees of the former Big Wheel Inc., and I knew exactly where to find the recipe I’ve used many times. It was provided by a woman who was an executive secretary.

If you have a tried-and-true recipe using harvest veggies — or others — it is always welcome at Culinary Conversation.

Today, we also offer a quick casserole when time is limited. It has the same wonderful flavors as individual cabbage rolls but can be prepared for baking in 20 minutes or less. Sounds like a plan.

Cabbage Rolls

Mix together 1⁄2 medium onion, chopped, 2 tsps. salt and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper with 1⁄4 cup of the tomato mix.

Cut core out of cabbage head. Separate the leaves. Steam the cabbage leaves about 2 minutes or long enough to make them flexible, but not enough to be cooked. Drain. Place enough of the meat mixture on each leaf so that the leaf can be folded over the meat mixture and rolled up; tuck in ends. Place each roll, lapped side down in baking dish or Dutch oven. Pour over sauce mixture. Bake 1 hour at 350. Or cook in heavy Dutch oven on top of stove, bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour.

Cabbage-Beef Loaf

Heat cabbage, water and 1⁄4 tsp. salt to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes; drain. Mix remaining ingredients.

Place half the cabbage in ungreased 2-qt. casserole. Spread beef mixture over cabbage; top with remaining cabbage. Cover and bake in 350 oven until done; 55 to 60 minutes.


Cabbage Soup

Cook and stir onions in bacon fat in Dutch oven until tender. Add beef broth, water, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and celery. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered, about 10 minutes. Top each serving with sour cream; garnish with dill.

Zucchini “Lasagna”

Heat oven to 350. Cook and stir meat in large skillet until brown; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, garlic salt, basil leaves and oregano leaves; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until mixture is consistency of spaghetti sauce, about 101 minutes

Grease square baking dish, 9x9x2-inches. Mix cottage cheese, 1⁄4 cup Romano cheese and egg. Layer half each of zucchini, flour, cottage cheese mixture, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese; repeat. Sprinkle 1⁄4 cup Romano cheese on top. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.