I learned to cook by finding a recipe I wanted to try, buying all the ingredients, then getting to work. This is a creative outlet for me, and I do something like this about once a week.
This week, I spied a recipe out of the “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics” cookbook. It sounded strange. Cabbage and noodles. But that is the fun in experimenting. The stranger it sounds, the more curious I am.
The result was an unexpected reminder of my grandma’s wonderful cooking. I have East European heritage; cabbage, dill, beets and cucumbers were regulars at the table. While I don’t recall having this dish, specifically, the flavors seem familiar. Perhaps it was served at a community gathering. Perhaps it’s simply that each ingredient, on its own, is so familiar.
Either way, this proved to be a wonderful comfort food. I don’t know if non-East European folks would appreciate it, but I loved it.
CABBAGE & NOODLES
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
8 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons salt
12 ounces fine or medium-wide egg noodles
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sour cream for topping off at the table
In a pot with a tight lid, cook the onions in the butter on medium heat until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the paprika and saute for a few seconds more. Stir in the cabbage, add the salt, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring now and then. Cover tightly and cook on very low heat for 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft and brown.
When the cabbage is almost done, cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain them and toss well with the cabbage mixture. Add a generous amount of pepper and, top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
Moosewood says to serve this with fresh applesauce and rye bread. Definitely have some apples on hand. Something about the taste makes you crave apples. It’s rich, so it calls for a green salad to go along side it, too. It would also be good with a pork roast.