Yesterday we woke up to snow.
E. had never seen it before and we spent several minutes first thing looking out his bedroom window while simultaneously flipping through “The Snowy Day,” pointing from book to window, making the connection.
After breakfast, we bundled up and trundled outside to hurl tiny snowballs and shake the snowy bushes in our front yard. In the afternoon, we sat in front of the fire and read picture books. And for dinner we ate hearty bowls full of cabbage and noodles, the perfect meal for a snow day.
The cabbage in this dish bears little resemblance to any cabbage I have ever eaten before. Finely shredded and cooked for an hour — don’t worry, the hands on time is minimal — with copious amounts of butter and caramelized onions, this cabbage practically melts into oblivion.
Paired with egg noodles and paprika, it makes for a rich, spicy (but not hot), comforting dish. Exactly what I want on a freezing cold day in February. Plus, it’s economical and easy to make too.
To be honest, however, this Eastern European dish might not be for everybody.
For starters, it’s not the most attractive thing I’ve ever seen on a plate.
It didn’t exactly meet with rave reviews from the family, either.
E wouldn’t touch it. He tasted little bits but immediately rejected them and, because I (usually) refuse to be a short-order cook, his dinner consisted solely of a cup of whole milk and three helpings of yogurt.
Paul cleaned his plate, but declared the meal merely “fine.” He turned up his nose at the offer of leftovers tonight, when he and E. will be on their own because I’m trekking 1.5 hours out of town for dinner.
In all fairness, he’s not a big fan of paprika, but I placated him with dessert so it’s OK.
If you aren’t into paprika either, you could certainly leave it out. I’ve seen other versions of this dish don’t call for it, but I liked it’s smoky edge.
Next time, I might also add a few chopped and toasted walnuts on top for a little crunch.
I found this recipe to have a lot going for it: filling, buttery, and vegetable-laden. It might not be for everybody, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics"
I am not a cold-weather person. I am thankful that February is the shortest month, because I think it is also the most dreary. But the combo of slow-cooked cabbage and egg noodle ribbons is almost enough for me to wish for a few more weeks of winter weather, so that I could dig into this cold-weather comfort food just a few more times.
The original recipe called for 12 ounces of noodles but I used a full pound because I don't cook with egg noodles often and didn't really want a partial package taking up space in my pantry. I didn't increase any of the other ingredients (though you certainly could) and I thought the ratio of cabbage to noodles was just right.
I also decreased the amount of butter slightly and I don't think the dish suffered as a result. Both my measurements and the original measurements are included below.
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (sweet, not hot)
- 8 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 12-16 ounces medium-wide egg noodles
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- sour cream (or, in a pinch, plain yogurt)
In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the paprika and sauté for a few more seconds.
Stir in the cabbage and the salt, cover tightly and cook on very low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft and brown.
When the cabbage is almost done cooking, cook the noodles. Drain and combine with the cabbage mixture. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and some freshly ground pepper.