I have a confession to make: it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned to appreciate cabbage. Sad but true; I don’t know what was wrong with me! I stumbled upon a recipe years ago from the Joy of Cooking for a cabbage gratin, and something in me just clicked- that actually sounded good! I made it for St. Patrick’s Day one year, and it was so good, we’ve made it for our traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal ever since.
Over the years, I’ve made a number of adaptions to the original recipe, and being the cabbage fan I now am, I decided this year it would be fun to try a mix of both fresh and fermented cabbage. The result is so good; cheesy and savory- sure to change the mind of any cabbage doubter!
Fresh & Fermented Cabbage Gratin
1 heaping cup of drained Bubbies sauerkraut
2 small leeks
1 small head of cabbage
3/4 cup of cream
1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
7 oz ham steak, or corned beef if you prefer
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees; drain sauerkraut and set aside. Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together. Lightly grease a casserole pan with butter, and sprinkle half the Parmesan and bread crumb mix on the bottom; set aside. Shred Gruyere and cheddar cheeses and set aside. Slice leeks once longways, (make sure to rinse them well- leeks hide a lot of dirt!) and chop into thin half circles. Slice cabbage in half, removing the core, then slice into quarters. Slice cabbage into thin shreds. In a tall sided pot, add olive oil and heat over medium. Once oil is heated and starting to shimmer, add leeks. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes, or until the leeks are becoming bright green, soft, and aromatic. Add half the fresh cabbage to the pot and mix well with the leeks to coat everything with oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the rest of the cabbage and mix well. Continue cooking the cabbage over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the cabbage is wilted and soft, remove the pot from heat and add the meat and sauerkraut; toss well to mix. In a separate bowl, mix cream, flour and black pepper together, then add half of the cheese blend and mix. In your casserole pan, add a layer of the cabbage mixture, followed by a layer of the cream and cheese mix; I find it helpful to use a fork to evenly spread the cheese. Continue layering the cabbage and cream mixtures. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and Gruyere over the top, followed by the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to enjoying. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!