Challenge October 2013 - Cabbage

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So many good dishes!! So as promised, I'm uploading a picture of my Hungarian-style cabbage rolls with pork-and-rice stuffing, baked for over four hours in an unglazed Romertopf clay baker with tomatoes, peppers and bacon, so here is my take on the classic töltött káposzta:


Now I still have about 3 kilos of cabbage and have to decide what to do with it. A few possibilities come to mind:

1, kapustníky, or cabbage buns. The filling consists of fried shredded cabbage and may be sweet (with sugar and cinnamon) or savoury (with caraway and lots of black pepper, perhaps bacon, perhaps even wild mushrooms). The buns may be baked or deep-fried in lard.

2, cabbage strudel, made in Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and simply around this part of the world, can be made with a sweet or a savoury filling

3, pierogi (Polish) or pirohy (Slovak) where the filling may be just boiled and pureed cabbage mixed with lots of black pepper and chopped dill, or fried cabbage with braised wild mushrooms. K-girl, you might be put off by the idea of cabbage puree, but trust me, they taste great (perhaps a good amount of black pepper and dill is responsible). Of course, served with bacon nuggets, fried onion rings and sour cream.

4, layered cabbage, which is a fantastic dish, but uses up a lot of lard is you decide to make the version with shredded cabbage (i.e. not sauerkraut). It's a layered baked dish of layers of cabbage, rice, pork ragout, sour cream and again cabbage, rice, ragout, again cabbage and finally a nice layer of thick sour cream again, perhaps topped with rashers of streaky bacon; and baked. The cabbage can be braised sauerkraut (braised in lard, a little water, with a good amount of black pepper and some crushed caraway), in which case one would also add sliced smoked sausage as an extra layer, or made with fresh cabbage that is shredded, boiled a bit and then fried in lard until it's nice and sweet; it's precisely this procedure that requires quite a good amount of lard, so it's not exactly cheap. The ragout also tends to differ whether it's the sauerkraut version or the white cabbage version. For the sauerkraut version, I sauté some pork cubes in lard, take them out, sauté some onions, then a little garlic and a good amount of paprika (I always add a bit of smoked pimentón agridulce, too), perhaps a chopped chili or a pinch of cayenne, return the meat to the pan, add water, salt, pepper, cover and braise. For the other version I chop the meat fine (see below), sauté some onions, add the meat, sauté it together and then add chopped tomatoes (canned are fine), salt, pepper and a couple of thyme sprigs and simmer uncovered for some time. Rice has to be cooked, but left a bit tougher (so use a bit less water). The sauerkraut version prevails in Hungary, where it's known under the name of kolozsvári rakott káposzta, whereas the other version (or dishes very similar to it) seems to be more common in Romania, where it most probably originated (Kolozsvár is Hungarian for Cluj) as yet another variation on the broader moussaka theme of Balkans and eastern Mediterranean and is indeed sometimes called musaca de varză. I certainly count it among the greatest dishes of old Europe and urge you to give either version a try.

I can't decide.

Anyway, out of pure necessity I revived the ancient method of mincing meat. Nowadays you'll use electric meat grinder. Well, the knives of mine are too blunt and I was to lazy to have them sharpened. I did already have some meat in the freezer and wanted to use that up, so buying minced meat at the butcher's wasn't an option. I have always dreaded mincing meat with knife, but it's so easy. It is all about technique; which actually doesn't require any practice, only knowing what to do (which I didn't before yesterday). You need a large chef's knife (which we all have) and a heavy wooden chopping board (which we also have). If you have two such knives, even better. Sharpen them. Now slice the meat into small cubes and start chopping (not cutting, not slicing, but chopping - think of a timpanist playing tremolo). It's all more about speed than anything else. I had all the meat for those cabbage rolls chopped in no time. Rhythmically chopping with speed is all that it takes. I just thought it might be useful.
 
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Chris - Niiice choucrute. That, obviously, was an essential entry for this challenge! Since I used my one fermenting pot for the kimchi already, I can just hope that the second one I ordered arrives in time so I can show my way to make the Sauerkraut itself.

slayertplsko - We have something similar to your nr. 4 here in northern Bavaria, called Krautbraten (cabbage roast) locally, made with white cabbage. I will probably present that one later :) Those cabbage rolls look beautiful, too!
 
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Very nice recipes, and a great variety of approaches. This thread is like taking a culinary course on Brassica Genus.
 
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choucrute... an essential entry for this challenge! Since I used my one fermenting pot for the kimchi already, I can just hope that the second one I ordered arrives in time so I can show my way to make the Sauerkraut itself.
Please do, Gene. I am kind of hoping others will post their recipes for choucroute or sauerkraut! I'm very sure you have a nice one too, I'm looking forward to see it/them posted here!
 
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Chris - Niiice choucrute. That, obviously, was an essential entry for this challenge! Since I used my one fermenting pot for the kimchi already, I can just hope that the second one I ordered arrives in time so I can show my way to make the Sauerkraut itself.

slayertplsko - We have something similar to your nr. 4 here in northern Bavaria, called Krautbraten (cabbage roast) locally, made with white cabbage. I will probably present that one later :) Those cabbage rolls look beautiful, too!
You mean this?

http://www.marions-kochbuch.de/rezept/5171.htm

Now, that's something!! Lecker! 
 
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Yes, that's it. The family recipe I am working from is a bit different, not rolled up, but rather layered and baked in a dish. I'll make some later this month, for this evening, I have something different already sitting on the stove :)
 
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The dishes here are fantastic !

I made a soup, a simple soup. Let's call it a  Harvest Soup.

 A saute of mixed veg, including cabbage and cauliflower ( les herbes de provence, oregano, garlic , beef stock )

 added chick peas then 6 large containers of vegetable juice

 later added one cup of crushed barley to really thicken it up.
 
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Just a heads up. The dish I made for this month helped me get a job with a Chef who has represented America in the Bocuse D'or, thanks for the inspiration. 
 
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Just a heads up. The dish I made for this month helped me get a job with a Chef who has represented America in the Bocuse D'or, thanks for the inspiration. 
Wow, happy to hear that! Congrats mise, you deserve it!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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thank you Koukou.

Mise, you dish has great style. No wonder you got the job...Good luck
 
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Once again my American vacation is full of experimenting with food we dont get in Scotland. In Alabama it was catfish. in Louisiana I found a huge bunch of turnip greens and after chatting with another shopper in win dixie how she would deal with it, i came up with this pie.

Its an all butter pastry balled and pushed into a foil tray and blind baked. (Not much in the way of equipment cos were in rented holiday properties)

Sautéed thinly sliced russet potato with onion and garlic. cooled and layer over the base.

1lb turnip greens were washed and washed and washed...blimey they're sandy...sauted with onion and garlic...squeezed out and mixed into 4 eggs, 1/2 pint sour cream, a splash of milk,and a pkt of grated quesadilla cheese. pour over and bake at 375. No herbs or spices. just S&P I just wanted to see what the turnip greens tasted like and me and OH are well impressed.

 
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LUNCH!

Minestrone soup with a nice bunch of kale (usually I use spinach)

and a tomatoes (I missed them somehow in the snapshot), and every veg I had in the house!

I keep chicken broth and cooked beans (from the dried state) in the deep freeze.

Regretfully this is served without grated cheese or EVOO on top, OR bread, SIGH

as I would normally serve this dish, as we are getting rid of those couple of extra pounds we gained on our trip...
 
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