Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that pops up in most global cuisines, and that's not surprising. Cabbage varieties (green, white, red, savoy, napa, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, and collards) are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, are easy to grow, usually a good buy, store well over the winter and a prime candidate for pickling (sauerkraut), which means even longer storage.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are the epitome of comfort food. Pork and beef mixed with rice or barley are nestled in a cabbage leaf and cooked in the oven or on the stove until tender. Czechs and Slovaks call them holubky, for Poles it's golabki, and Serbs and Croatians refer to them as sarma.
This Czechoslovakian braised cabbage recipe is easy to prepare, but it takes about 1 hour to braise properly. Still, the ingredients are few and simple and the dish makes a great accompaniment to many meat offerings. This recipe is a good candidate for a slow cooker.
This recipe for Hungarian sweet-and-sour cabbage soup recipe is left uncreamed and is thick and hearty with lots of chunks of smoked meat. It's a great main-dish soup or meal starter.
Simply by thickening the broth in Hungarian sweet-and-sour cabbage soup recipe (see above), this dish can be transformed into a main course when served over noodles or rice. The same goes for creamed sweet-and-sour cabbage soup recipe (see below).
This recipe for Hungarian creamed sweet-and-sour cabbage soup -- teifeles cukros ecetes kaposztaleves -- tastes even better when made with the cooking water from smoked pork butt, but broth or water can be used instead. This soup is meant to be thick and hearty and can be creamed or uncreamed as in Cukros Ecetes Kaposztaleves (see above), or served over noodles or rice as a main course.
Split Peas & Cabbage is a traditional side dish at wigilia or Christmas Eve dinner. The meal is meatless but this dish, which is as much starch as vegetable, also can be served with a garnish of fried bacon if you're not fasting.
This Polish-American recipe for unstuffed cabbage is from my friend Bobbie. She is Polish to the core and loves traditional cuisine, but doesn't always have the time to make things the Old World way. To satisfy her cravings for stuffed cabbage, she makes this recipe for her family. See her Pan Pierogi recipe, another way to have traditional flavors in half the time.
This sweet-and-sour braised red cabbage side dish comes together in a snap, especially if you use a food processor to shred the cabbage and onion. Czerwona Kapusta Zasmazana goes great with just about any dish, but is a favorite with ham, pork and sausage.
Cabbage and mushroom filling goes well with savory Polish nalesniki, also known as Polish blintzes or filled crepes. Once filled and rolled, they can be baked or pan fried, or dipped in beaten egg and bread crumbs and fried.
This recipe comes to me by way of Chef Gale Gand, co-owner of Tru Restaurant in Chicago. It was her Hungarian Grandma Elsie's recipe. The ingenious cook couldn't afford apples for her strudel so she used sweetened and spiced cabbage instead. It's hard to tell the difference!
This easy casserole recipe combines four ingredients Eastern Europeans love -- cabbage, noodles, pork and sour cream. Breakfast sausage can be substituted for the ground pork, in which case the garlic should be omitted and the salt reduced to taste. This dish can be made ahead and reheats well.