Region: Northern Germany, all over Germany
It’s Krauts again!
I may as well try to meet the cliché. I have already elaborated on this nickname in my post on Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. No need to do it again.
Here is a dish I came across the other day in one of the German Cooking Magazines. Since it is Cabbage season, it is not hard to find all sorts of cabbage variations. I saw this one, and as I am a big fan of all types of casserole dishes, I figured I’ll give it a try. At first I thought it looks a bit boring. But then it turned out to be so tasty that it deserves a place in my favorite German Food blog.
Good food does not have to be complex or difficult to prepare. I think this is a good example.
Serves: 4 Difficulty: easy Preparation time: 60 minutes
- 1 kg (2 lbs) Small Potatoes
- 1/2 (750 g or 1.5 lbs) Savoy Cabbage
- 3 TBS Butter
- Freshly ground Salt and Pepper
- Half a Can Chunky Tomatoes (200g or 7 oz)
- 2 Medium onions
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 80g (2.8 oz) Bacon Bits
- 4 Sprigs of Thyme
- 3 Sprigs of Parsley
- 2 large Carrots
- 1 TBS Vegetable Oil
- 375g (13.5 oz) Ground Meat / Minced Meat
- 2 TBS Tomato Paste
- 2 TBS Flour
- 375ml (12.7 fl oz) Instant Vegetable Broth (Instant)
- 250g (8.8 oz) Cream
- Freshly Ground Nutmeg
- 60g (2 oz) Parmesan Cheese
Peel 1 kg (2 lbs) Small Potatoes and place in a pot with cold salt water. With the lid on, bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, to 1/3 power. Cut savoy cabbage into quarters, remove any hard or woody core stem and slice into strips.
Heat 1 TBS of butter or vegetable oil in large skillet and stir fry cabbage on medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Peel and finely chop 2 medium onions and two cloves of garlic. Strip 4 Thyme sprigs of its leaves and finely chop. Do the same with the parsley. Peel and chop the carrots into bit size chunks.
Heat 1 TBS of vegetable oil in a skillet and add 80g (2.8 oz) Bacon Bits, onions, garlic, carrots, and ground meat and fry on high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 TBS of tomato paste and half a can (200g or 7 oz) of chunky tomatoes. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, heat 2 TBS of butter and dust in 1 TBS of flour using a sieve. Stir until flour/butter mix starts to bubble. While constantly stirring, using a whisk, pour in a little bit of your vegetable stock. Whisk well, and as soon as it thickens and bubbles again, poor in a little bit more vegetable stock, while constantly whisking the sauce. Repeat these steps until all vegetable broth is in the sauce pan. Add 250g (8.8 oz) of cream, bring to a short boil and season with freshly ground salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Grate 60g (2 oz) of Parmesan Cheese and stir into the sauce.
Distribute cabbage in a large casserole and layer potatoes and meat mixture over cabbage and layer the cheese sauce on top.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at temperature setting: 175°C (350°F) top and bottom heat, 150°C (300°F) in circulating heat of gas setting 2.
Serve warm but not too hot.
Tip: One word of caution when it comes to any type of instant broth/stock. I try to avoid any instant product that contains monosodium glutamate or yeast extract, simply because I believe it corrupts the natural taste of things, and adds an unnatural flavor: so read the labels carefully. I use liquid vegetable stock. While they do contain yeast extracts as well, it is usually at much lower volume and less dominant than instant products. Instant products are also very high in salt. Liquid versions are not.