<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Friday, December 1, 2023
Dec. 1, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Chef offers cabbage makeovers for St. Patrick’s

Vegetable healthy source of vitamins, fiber, folate


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — What St. Patrick’s Day meal would be complete without cabbage? We’re talking about solid green cabbage, part of the cruciferous family that also includes Savoy (curly leafed), red, Napa, bok choy and brussels sprouts. Green cabbage might have the stigma of being the ugly duckling of the vegetable world, but in the right hands, it shines.

Cortney Smith, a chef instructor and co-owner of Gather Food Studio & Spice Shop, is skilled at bringing out the best in the veggie.

“I’m a big cabbage fan and grew up eating it in a number of ways,” she said. “Cabbage rolls, of course. Also, I love a good hearty cabbage soup. Creative slaws are a fun way to add color and texture to your tacos, egg rolls and Asian salads. … For St. Paddy’s, my favorite way to use cabbage is actually in colcannon potatoes. So yummy.”

Colcannon is an Irish, jazzed-up mashed potato dish traditionally served on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. As the masters of potato dishes, the Irish have perfected this creamy mixture of potatoes and cabbage. Smith adds tart apple to the mix and garnishes the dish with crispy bacon and diced green onions.

Smith has other creative, speedy ways to include cabbage into her holiday dinner.

“No surprise here, but my favorite way to cook cabbage is in the Instant Pot,” she said. Her Instant Pot classes are among the bestselling on the class schedule. “You can place cabbage into the pressure cooker on a rack suspended above water and cook for 15 minutes on high pressure with a natural release. This way, the cabbage isn’t waterlogged. It’s nice and soft.”

If you’d like to add more flavor to the veggie, add some Irish bacon for seasoning.

“Irish bacon is much like Canadian bacon,” Smith said. “It is lean and sliced thick. But most thick-sliced, lean bacon and ham work when cut in small segments and then partially cooked before adding to the cabbage. The bacon adds more than a wee bit of complementary flavor to cabbage.”

Margaret Reynolds, who lives in Colorado Springs, isn’t a chef but she has ties to Ireland.

“My four great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland,” she said.

For her, cabbage is a holiday staple.

“I do like cabbage. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “I prefer cabbage cooked with corned beef and carrots. I think it gives cabbage a really nice flavor.”

Corned beef and cabbage are a super-easy one-pot meal. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Simply place the corned beef with its spice flavoring packet into a large Dutch oven and add water (or Guinness for more flavor) to cover the meat. Add sliced carrots, quartered red potatoes and top with wedges of cabbage. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook a couple of hours.

What cabbage lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for in the nutrition department. It’s a healthy, inexpensive source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and fiber. Plus, cooking cabbage enhances its cholesterol-lowering properties.

In addition to her delicious buttery colcannon potatoes that follow, Smith offers other ways to show respect for cabbage with more makeover ideas for flavorful, fun dishes, which could be included for a St. Paddy’s Day menu.

Colcannon Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings. Source: Gather Food Studio & Spice Shop

1/2 pound diced Irish bacon or thick-cut, lean bacon

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic, smashed

11/2 pounds cabbage, shredded

11/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced

3 apples, peeled, insides removed, rough chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream, warm

3 tablespoons butter, melted in the heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Pinch of mace

4 green onions, sliced

In a large Dutch oven, add the diced bacon and cook over medium-low heat until the bacon has rendered and is crispy. Remove the bacon and reserve. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant and cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cabbage, potatoes, and apples. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes and cabbage are cooked, about 15 minutes. When everything is cooked, drain the water well.

Add the pan back to the stove with the heat off and mash the mixture while adding the warm cream and butter mixture. Combine well. Do not overwork. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of mace. Transfer to a bowl and top with the sliced green onions and reserved crispy bacon.

Transylvanian-style Cabbage Rolls

Yield: 10 servings. Source: Gather Food Studio & Spice Shop

1 large head cabbage

3 cans sauerkraut juice

1/4 cup rice

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

11/4 pound ground pork or beef (or a mix of both)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

2 teaspoons paprika, divided

1 egg

3 pounds fresh sauerkraut

2-3 slices bacon, diced

4 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon flour

Two days to 24 hours before serving: Wash and core the cabbage. Steam the head of cabbage over boiling water. When cool enough to handle, peel the leaves off the head and place in a bowl. Stop when you get to the tough inner leaves. Pour the sauerkraut juice over the cabbage leaves and let sit at room temperature to sour.

Parboil the rice in salted water for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, render the bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Turn off heat and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mix meat, salt, pepper, marjoram and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Add egg, cooled rice and onion mixture.

Drain the leaves, saving the sauerkraut juice for later use.

To make cabbage rolls: placing a leaf in front of you with the stem facing you (tear large leaves into two if necessary). Place meat mixture into roll, fold sides in, then roll the stem away from you, making a tight, closed roll. Place seam side up on a baking sheet or on a platter. Repeat until all leaves are used.

When rolls are done, drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Get as dry as you can.

Reheat the remaining onion mixture and sprinkle with 11/2 teaspoons paprika. Cook until warmed and add 1/2 cup water. Add the sauerkraut and bacon, mixing well.

Bury the cabbage rolls, seam side down, in the sauerkraut. Add 1/2 water and 1/2 reserved sauerkraut juice until covered halfway.

Simmer with lid on for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through, adding more liquid if necessary.

When finished cooking, remove cabbage rolls and set to the side. Make sure pan if off heat.

In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, sour cream and flour together. Stir into sauerkraut mixture.

Bring back to simmer until slightly thickened. Add cabbage rolls back to pot, heat and serve.

Shaved Mango & Cabbage With Serrano-honey Dressing

Yield: 8 servings. Source: Gather Food Studio & Spice Shop

2 tablespoons lime juice

1-2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4-1/2 serrano pepper, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 mangoes, peeled and pitted

1/2 head red cabbage

2 tablespoons green onion, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons cilantro leaves

In a large bowl, add lime juice and honey. Whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle olive oil into bowl, whisking continuously. Once emulsified, stir in serrano, salt and pepper.

Using a mandoline or veggie peeler, shave mango and cabbage into long strips.

Place into a serving bowl, add green onions and cilantro and drizzle with dressing. Do not use all of the dressing if not necessary. Gently toss with your hands and serve.

Pressure Cooker Cabbage, Bacon, Fennel & White Bean Soup

Yield: 8 servings. Source: Gather Food Studio & Spice Shop

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1/2 head cabbage, cut into small pieces

1 head of fennel, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

6 cups chicken stock

1 can white bean, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

In an electric pressure cooker, on the brown setting, render the bacon. Remove bacon and set aside.

Set to sauté. Add carrots, onion and celery and cook until they begin to pick up color.

Add cabbage, fennel, rosemary and thyme and sauté for 7-8 minutes.

Add stock, bacon and beans. Place lid on pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.

Let pressure naturally release and serve.

Support local journalism

Your tax-deductible donation to The Columbian’s Community Funded Journalism program will contribute to better local reporting on key issues, including homelessness, housing, transportation and the environment. Reporters will focus on narrative, investigative and data-driven storytelling.

Local journalism needs your help. It’s an essential part of a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

Community Funded Journalism logo