This summer we switched to ordering food boxes for our weekly vegetable purchase (we buy from Abel & Cole).
The food box is like a lottery – it arrives, you menu plan for the week according to what you have received, and it is a wonderful way to explore and get creative with ingredients in the kitchen.
And then came the cabbage.
(veg photos from http://www.thinkvegetables.co.uk)
Oh my. Cabbage.
I had to dig into my inner creativity. Or, rather, tweet to get creative cuisine ideas.
I got some good ones.
Christine, the Holistic Guru (with whom I am working on all things related to food, wellness, and being aware) reminded me of her link to Moo Shu Vegetables.
Of course there was the old standby of cole slaw, which is great in the summer. I make mine with shredded cabbage, grated carrot, a mayonnaise based dressing, and it would not be cole slaw in my kitchen without celery seeds.
I had a wonderful suggestion to stir fry the cabbage with black bean or oyster sauce, and to serve with steak.
There is the “pot au feu” or one pot boiled dinner – made with salt beef (corned beef) or beef brisket a la the Irish, or with a whole chicken or poussin a la the French.
Or chicken soup, with bacon, cabbage and carrots. Just boiled up together. Super easy. I used to make this a lot in winter when I lived in Japan and wanted a simple yummy taste of home.
Speaking of Japan, there is the cabbage roll stuffed with minced pork – I loved this when I lived in Japan…
And then there was bubble and squeak.
Bubble and squeak is an entirely British thing. To be honest with you, I have only ever had it at Canteen for breakfast. They were yummy, but I had never thought of making it at home. Too complicated, I thought.
Last week I had another green cabbage to use, and some potatoes. I decided it was time to try out this whole concept of bubble and squeak. Googling away, I found inspiration.
First stop, the BBC Good Food site, where I discovered the above pictured recipe for Bubble and Squeak cakes, by Gordon Ramsay.
This looked like a dead easy recipe. Basically, mashed potatoes, and in Ramsay’s case, using left over brussel sprouts for the green. Mix together, turn into patties, cover in flour, and then fry up, finishing the heating / cooking in the oven at 190C. I can see how this is an awesome use for leftovers after Christmas.
I did more research. It looked like adding bacon was an option. Not all bubble and squeak is served in a cake fashion – sometimes more like a hash. A lot of recipes include a sauteed onion. I think adding a leek instead of an onion would be a nice, more delicate, touch.
I was inspired. Time to make my own.
New Potatoes (washed well as I left the skins on – about 1 to 1.5 pounds – 500 to 800g)
A few tablespoons cream and butter (for mashing with the potatoes)
A good handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Cabbage – shredded and blanched (I used a half a cabbage)
An egg (I actually didn’t use one but recommend it as a binding agent although it works without)
Polenta (or regular) flour
1. Blanch the cabbage and drain.
2. If you use leeks which may add some additional flavour, I would thinly slice and blanch with cabbage.
3. Cut the potatoes into pieces, skins on, and boil until soft and mashable.
4. Add butter and cream to potatoes and mash. Also add some salt and pepper. Do not make too liquid-like – think chunky skin on mashed goodness focused on the quality of the potato.
5. Add the cabbage to the potatoes and mix together. I used my hands, as I like feeling the texture of my food.
6. Add an egg to the mix and squeeze through and distribute well at this stage, along with the cheddar cheese. (I forgot the egg and it still worked ok.)
7. Shape into patties (see photo above).
8. Press each side into polenta flour. I used polenta as I like the crunch it can get when cooking.
9. Brown the patties in butter (some recipes say fry in oil but I didn’t think they needed frying just browning).
10. Place on baking tray and bake until nicely browned, at about 190C (375F).
The recipe yielded me about 8 patties. I froze 4 of them (once covered in flour but before the browning stage), and have already reheated two (from frozen) from the browning stage. They tasted delicious fresh and from frozen.
If you like bacon I suspect you could also add it to the recipe. Although since I was serving mine with protein (pork chops one night, chicken another) I didn’t find they needed bacon. For breakfast, adding bacon might be nice, topped with a fried or poached egg.
What are your favourite ways to cook with cabbage?