December 1, 2005
Poppyseed Cabbage and Egg Noodles

Poppyseed Cabbage and Egg Noodles
You have a cabbage. Your wife hates cole slaw. You just had a vegetable soup the night before. What do you do with your vegetative turban of cruciferous loveliness?

I looked online and found this recipe for Purim Hungarian Cabbage with Noodles. It looked good to me, but I of course made some changes to the original, and the final dish was great.

First of all, I halved the cabbage and noodles, but kept the supporting cast just about the same. I did add butter (he admits sheepishly), but not very much and the flavor difference was astounding. I could defend myself in butter court on this charge. ("Your honor, I do not wish to contest the charge, but here - eat, you look skinny!")

The ingredient I was most skeptical of was the sugar. Why add sugar to some perfectly respectable onions and cabbage? I think it's a shortcut to the carmelization of the onions, in case you have bad onions, but it works well in the recipe no matter.

Overall, this is a fast, low cal, low cost vegetarian dish for a cold winter night. Goes well with beer or soda. I don't know that I'd try to pair a wine with it. At least, I can't think of a wine I would have wanted with the dish, so "Nyet" to the wine and "Da" to the brewski.

Poppyseed Cabbage and Egg Noodles
1/2 package egg noodles (6 oz)
1/2 large head cabbage, sliced thin
1 onion, preferably red or 1/2 white onion and 1/2 a red onion if that's what happens to be in your refrigerator like me; sliced into thin half-moons.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
salt and pepper

Salt the cabbage. The original asks you to let it sit and blot off the excess water. Forget it. My cabbage didn't give up any moisture.

Heat the oil in a broad skillet - 12" ideally - over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir into the oil until hot. Add the onions and sautee in the oil until they start to lose their crispness.

Add the cabbage. Stir frequently, tossing with the onions. It might seem like too much cabbage at first, but it will reduce dramatically.

Put a big pot of water on the boil, salting the water liberally.

Continue to sautee the cabbage and onions. Taste and add pepper to taste as the cabbage softens. Somewhere in here, before taking the cabbage off the heat, add the butter and melt it down. Your total sautee time should be about 20 minutes. If the cabbage gets to the desired texture, turn off the heat and set the pan aside while you finish the noodles.

When the water in the pot boils, add the egg noodles. Boil until the pasta is a little past al dente. Drain.

Mix the cabbage and noodles together in a big bowl with the juice from the cabbage pan, if any. Add the poppyseeds, salt and pepper to taste, and serve in big bowls with a fork. Warming and tasty.

Variation - add paprika to bring out the "Hungarian" element in the dish. You might try with hot sauce or curry powder, too, but try the dish in its original first. It's surprisingly tasty.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 1, 2005 6:32 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

You made hlouska! Aka, Slovak Cabbage and Noodles. Very big out here in Cleveland. I usually use caraway seed in mine though. Also very good with sliced chicken apple sausage.

Posted by Kerry on December 1, 2005 at 8:33 AM

That looks surprisingly appetizing, though I've never considered myself a cabbage fan. Must be the cold weather!

Do you think it would work well with a savoy cabbage too?

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 1, 2005 at 9:13 AM

I'm another Slovak, also from Cleveland, and I made this last night, with caraway seeds and a side of keilbasi. A recipe from my grandmother.

Posted by mary g on December 1, 2005 at 10:19 AM

I've stumbled on the official dish of Cleveland, it seems!

Meg, it can't hurt to try, but this clearly isn't "delicate", the way Savoy cabbage can be. I'd sautee by texture not time with a different cabbage.

Posted by barrett on December 1, 2005 at 10:22 AM

This looks somewhat unusual, but intriguing nonetheless! As it happens, I have 1/2 a head of cabbage in my fridge (leftover from making soup, of course), some onions, egg noodles, and lo and behold a chicken sausage!

Guess what's for dinner at my house tonight :-)

Posted by Carry on December 1, 2005 at 4:11 PM

My first thought was 'Ugh,' but that vanished, to be replaced by 'hmm' and then 'oh, yeah, print that one.' The caraway seeds sound more in keeping to a Slovak style, but I'll try the original first...

Posted by Monica on December 5, 2005 at 3:12 PM

hey, we have these as well, they're traditional of vienna, but you can tell the hungarian origins. never heard of a version with poppyseed, though - interesting twist!

Posted by johanna on December 6, 2005 at 4:56 PM

This looks yummy ihave half cabbage Im gointo try this recipies tnx

Posted by asya on December 6, 2005 at 8:41 PM

If this is good enough for Dr. Biggles, it's good enough for me. One question, is it really necessary to salt the cabbage? Have you ever skipped this step?

Thanks, nice looking recipe. I'll be trying it tomorrow.

Posted by Dave on January 14, 2006 at 1:07 PM

mmm, yum. I came here via biggles, and I love the idea of using poppyseeds in this. I make similar dishes a lot -- with and without the noodles. I learned from Cook's Illustrated that the secret to most-delicious cabbage is to cook it with a bit of fat AND a bit of liquid, so my recipes use either heavy cream (all-in-one!) or water/broth & butter. My standard variations are caraway seeds or thyme, which is shockingly delicious with a braised cabbage like this, but I have some poppyseeds around and am totally trying this version. And maybe a paprika one as well. I don't salt the cabbage ahead, just sprinkle it on while I'm saute/braising and it seems to work out fine.

Posted by foodnerd on January 24, 2006 at 9:09 AM
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