Cabbage is one of my favourite vegetables, yet I don't often cook it because my fussy family doesn't enjoy it. It's one of the vegetables which is very popular in Russia. I read that Russia has the highest annual per capita consumption of cabbage per person - 20 kg. That is pretty impressive.
There are so many dishes where cabbage is used: from salads to soups (like borscht or shchi), from pickled/fermented cabbage to stewed cabbage pockets filled with rice and mince (golubtsy).
I remember my auntie used to grow cabbages in her big kitchen garden. They were like gigantic roses.
There are also some not so pleasant memories of overcooked cabbage, served in schools and hospitals throughout the Soviet Union. The smell would linger in the corridors for a long time.
Cabbage is a staple ingredient in many world cuisines, of course, not just Russia or Eastern European countries, though I think some of the best cabbage recipes do come from those lands.
When we lived in the States, my Polish friend once brought to me a big jar of bigos. I just had my baby, and was too busy recuperating and looking after Sasha to cook, and that meal in a jar was most welcome. It was also utterly delicious. We later lost all contact, I wish I asked for the recipe. I also wish we kept in touch. Margo, if by some chance you're reading this, I'm waving madly and would love to hear from you.
While my husband is away this week (off he went gallivanting to the Venice film festival), I decided I am going to cook a whole cabbage just for myself, and will eat it for several days. That's the plan.
This is one of the variations of the Russian recipe for roast cabbage with soured cream.
If you're an omnivore, add some cubed bacon or pancetta.
Roasted cabbage with soured cream and Tabasco
1 medium white cabbage (900g)
9tbsp olive oil
1 sweet white onion
1/2tsp fennel seeds
a dash of Tabasco
300ml soured cream
Start by cutting the cabbage in half and then into 1cm thick slices.
Using most of the olive oil (leave 2tbsp for frying onions), brush the cabbage slices with it on both sides and arrange in a deep roasting dish or tin. Season well with sea salt.
Place the dish in the oven preheated to 180C, and cook for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the onion finely and fry in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the fennel seeds and a good dash of Tabasco in the last couple of minutes of frying.
The amount of Tabasco depends on how hot you like your food. You can also use 1tsp of paprika instead of Tabasco.
Turn down the heat, and add the soured cream to the onion, stir well.
Take out the roasting dish out of the oven, and pour the soured cream and onion sauce over the cabbage.
|Cabbage after 15 mins in the oven ---> cabbage with sauce on top|
Serve hot with crusty bread. It makes a lovely side dish to any meat, but could easily be a vegetarian meal on its own.
It will keep well in the fridge in a closed container for a few days.
In this recipe I used Tabasco Green Pepper sauce which was part of the latest Degustabox. It is made of mild green jalapeño peppers mixed with vinegar and salt. It is the mildest sauce from Tabasco range.
Do you like cabbage, or have an aversion to it? What is your favourite cabbage dish?