Cooking With Cabbage

Faced with an uninspiring cabbage in your veg box this week? We can help. Don’t boil your cabbage to death – try something different and exciting! Here are our favourite cabbage recipes: one for cabbage lovers, and one for cabbage haters’

For Cabbage Haters: Russian Soup

We didn’t call it ‘cabbage soup’, because we knew that nobody would read any further! This soup features plenty of winter vegetables along with the cabbage, and it’s far, far away from the dieter’s cabbage soup of the 1980s. It’s adapted from a Cranks recipe and, being packed with different vegetables, is great for serving to old and young cabbage haters’ they’ll never guess’

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and sliced (including the core)
  • 100g white cabbage, shredded
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 800ml stock (preferably made with Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
  • 1tsp dried dillweed
  • 1tsp dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook gently for a few minutes, until it’s translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables and cover the pan to let them sweat. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat. Now add the garlic, herbs, and stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Cool slightly before liquidizing in a blender (adding a little water to thin if necessary). Serve hot.

For Cabbage Lovers: Spanish Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage is cheap and plentiful, and grows everywhere – so no wonder it became a favourite peasant food. Cabbage rolls are a great European tradition. In her Vegetable Book, Jane Grigson gives a few methods for cooking them. Filled with economical ham or sausagemeat, cabbage rolls make a nutritious and good‐value supper. Here is a Spanish version, where the cabbage rolls are baked in béchamel sauce and topped with golden cheese. It’s great for cabbage lovers ‐ and will probably convert a few cabbage haters too!

  • 1kg leafy cabbage
  • 150g cooked ham or sausage, diced
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 4tbsp grated cheese (cheddar or gruyere)
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. While it’s heating up, strip the cabbage leaves from the heart – discarding any tatty old ones on the outer layer. Drop them into the boiling water, using a spoon to push them underneath. Cook for 15‐25 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Drain and refresh them under the cold tap, and put on kitchen paper to drain.

Finely dice the ham and put a spoonful on the centre of the first cabbage leaf. Tuck in one end, then tuck over the sides, and roll up. Put the roll, seam‐side down, into an ovenproof dish. Fill all the cabbage leaves this way, until either cabbage or meat runs out.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and prepare the béchamel sauce. In a roomy saucepan, melt the butter with the sunflower oil. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, beating to make a smooth paste. Now pour in the milk and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring all the time. When it reaches simmering point, cook the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After 10 minutes pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls in the oven dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and put the dish into the oven for 15‐20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling on top. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

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