I come to you today with a simple recommendation:
Buy a cabbage.
Cabbage! It’s in season! It’s cheap! It goes a really long way! Last week, intending to make Bon Appetit’s cabbage quiche from the latest issue, I purchased a cabbage. I used about a quarter of it to make the quiche, which was a lovely dinner paired with a side salad (I could not find radishes so I did not make the apple and radish salad that was included with the quiche recipe). Even my kids liked it– they can be picky but they will eat very nearly any vegetable in quiche form, which in our house is known as “egg veggie pie.” I buy frozen pie shells to keep around because leftovers can become quiches so easily.
Another night, I made Bon Appetit’s chipotle cauliflower tacos, and since we had some cabbage kicking around, I made a nice little slaw to go on top of them, with another quarter of the cabbage, some beet sauerkraut I had kicking around in the fridge, shredded carrots, and a lot of cilantro and lime. (I still have some of the slaw leftover, and I’m going to serve it on top of fried pork chop sandwiches tonight, I think.) It went really nicely with the smoky roasted cauliflower and the cilantro lime crema.
Last night, I still had half a cabbage. AND, moreover, I also had a fresh batch of chicken stock* (always make homemade if you can, if you can’t, BETTER THAN BOUILLON, BABY) because I had purchased a rotisserie chicken to make a batch of chicken salad for our lunches for the week. And a person in possession of both cabbage and broth should obviously make Smitten Kitchen’s Cozy Cabbage and Farro soup. This one I was skeptical that my kids would eat. So I figured, I’ll enjoy it, they can decide to eat it or choose a leftover from the fridge, no big deal. It was ready when the pickiest kid came home from school, and she asked what’s for dinner. “It’s a cabbage and farro soup with the broth I made yesterday. You can try it if you want, and if you don’t like it, you can choose a different leftover.” She snagged a pinch of the shaved parm waiting to go on top of the soup and tried a bite. “I’ll have that,” she said. I fixed her a bowl with some grilled bread and a ton of parm, and readers, she ate the whole thing.
This singular cabbage’s transformation into at least three meals has inspired me to seek out more cabbage recipes to try soon. Here are a few that look promising:
- Smitten Kitchen/Helen Rosner’s Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Cabbage (then make stock with the carcass!)
- Creamy Cabbage Soup with Gruyere (use the stock you made from the roasted chicken recipe)
- Caramelized Cabbage and Walnut Pasta
- Budget Bytes Cabbage and Kielbasa Skillet
- Budget Bytes Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry
- Budget Bytes Curried Cabbage (which I would probably serve with her yellow rice)
- And for even more inspiration, here’s Mark Bittman with a dozen recipes for slawless cabbage. (I make the stir fried with pork and peanuts version a lot)
*Homemade chicken stock is the reason there is a rule that no one in my household can go to Costco without purchasing a rotisserie chicken. Homemade stock is vastly superior to anything available in a carton or can, and is more economical, too, if you think thrifty– I keep a gallon size bag in my freezer, in which I place onion tops, bottoms, and peels; carrot tops and peels; celery trimmings; mushroom stems; and chicken bones. When it is full, I make stock. My culinary instructors liked to talk about the “magical chicken” where you basically build the cost of the entire chicken into the first meal you make with it, and then you use the other parts to make other things and the carcass to make stock, and all of that stuff is basically FREE MONEY because you already made your money back on the chicken with the first meal. I think this way in my home kitchen as well– if we eat roast chicken for dinner the first night, I have gotten my money’s worth. I then pick the rest of the chicken clean and use the pickings for soup or chicken salad or enchiladas or something, and I use the carcass to make stock, and those things are FREE MONEY. Stock is easy to make on the stove, in a crock pot, or in an instant pot, and it takes very little labor beyond throwing it all in a pot, simmering it for hours (or overnight), then straining. Freeze it flat in bags, use Souper Cubes, or even reduce it down to a thick glace to take up less space and use like your very own homemade Better than Bouillon.