September 3, 2009 at 8:43 a.m.

A few of the many ways to prepare cabbage

A few of the many ways to prepare cabbage
A few of the many ways to prepare cabbage

I am going to do cabbage recipes today. Cabbage was snubbed by the upper class Europeans but was gladly eaten by the peasant classes in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russian, Germany and many other European countries. My mom and dad were born in Slovakia and mom would talk about the foods they survived on when she was growing up. At the top of the list was cabbage and potatoes.

There are many ways of preparing cabbage and I have what I think are good recipes to share with you. Incidentally, I grow cabbage every year to eat as cabbage, but more than that, to make sauerkraut. I garden with one of our daughters and we plant almost every kind of veggie there is. I'm in charge of planting cabbage and potatoes, among other veggies. I plant a variety of cabbage for making kraut called "late Dutch flat head". This year I've had the largest cabbages I've ever grown. I have 12 heads and each of them weigh between 8 and 10 lbs. Obviously it's been a good year for growing cabbage! What will I do with all of those heads? My kitchen will be headquarters for making sauerkraut for the next three weeks!

Let's get cooking! Don't turn your nose up at this recipe. It's very good, if you're a cabbage eater.

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CABBAGE LASAGNA

2 lbs., ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium green pepper, diced

1 medium head cabbage, shredded (not real fine)

1 t. dried oregano leaves

1/2 t. salt

Few dashes of pepper

3-6 oz. cans tomato paste

2 c. cottage or ricotta cheese, divided

1-16 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Lightly spray bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and pepper. Drain. Meanwhile, boil cabbage in water, to barely cover cabbage, for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain, saving 2 c. cooking liquid. (If not enough liquid to make 2 cups, add water.) Return liquid to skillet; add oregano, salt, pepper, and tomato paste, mixing well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add ground beef mixture. Blend thoroughly. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into pan. Layer half of cottage cheese over top. Layer half of cabbage on top of cheese. Repeat layering. Spoon rest of beef mixture over top. Bake 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and light brown.

Makes 7 large or 9 smaller servings.

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BEEF AND CABBAGE STEW

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 c. diced onion

2-16 oz. cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1-14-1/2 oz. can beef broth

1-15 oz. can crushed tomatoes (can use diced tomatoes)

4 c. chopped cabbage

1/2 t. each, dried basil, marjoram, thyme and salt

1/8 t. pepper

In a Dutch oven, cook beef and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender; drain. In a small bowl, mash 1/4 c. beans with 1/4 c. beef broth. Add to Dutch oven with rest of beans and broth, tomatoes, cabbage and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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CHEDDAR CABBAGE WEDGES

1 medium head of cabbage (3 lbs.)

1/2 c. chopped green pepper

1/4 c. each, diced onion, butter or margarine and flour

1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

2 c. milk

3/4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 T. chili sauce

Cut cabbage in 8 wedges, leaving a portion of the core on each wedge. Steam wedges in boiling water in a large kettle or Dutch oven for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; let cool a bit and cut out core. Put wedges in a buttered 3 qt. baking dish. In a medium saucepan, cook green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook until bubbly, stirring constantly.

Gradually add milk; cook and stir until thickened. Pour over cabbage. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine cheese, mayo and chili sauce, spoon over wedges. Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

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COPENHAGEN-STYLE

DANISH CABBAGE

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t. salt

1-16 oz. can tomato sauce

1/8 t. each, cinnamon and ground cloves

1/4 t. each, dried thyme and dried basil

1 large head cabbage (not 8-10 lbs!) divided

Lightly spray bottom of 2 qt. casserole dish.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain; add salt, tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer 10 minutes. Layer half of cabbage in dish. Top with half of ground beef mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: Don't worry if the casserole seems too full. It will cook down.

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CABBAGE 'N FRUIT COLESLAW

4 c. shredded cabbage

2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 red apples, unpeeled and chopped

1 c. red grapes (green can be used)

1 c. raisins

1/2 c. mayo or salad dressing

1/4 c. milk

1 T. each, sugar and lemon juice

1/8 t. salt

1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, toss together, first 5 ingredients; cover and refrigerate. In a small bowl, combine next 5 ingredients, cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, combine dressing and pecans and fold into salad.

Makes 6-8 servings.

TFD: Sometimes you can't keep trouble from coming, but you don't have to give it a chair to sit on.

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