Sometimes the recipes I find for this site seem very elaborate because they happen to use leftovers I have in the refrigerator. This is one of those. Last week I made some mashed potatoes with leeks for the Boy. He wasn't overly happy with them and so I had about three cups left over and thought I'd better eat it up myself. It so happened that I was writing Barrett at the time about my recent lack of creativity (did anyone notice the spurt of great posts from old B-in-C last week?). And so I thought of the leftover Savoy cabbage in the vegetable bin and decided to try something different. The end product was delicious, and I'll file this recipe for a later date, perhaps when we have dinner guests on the weekend. It would be easy to make these packets in advance and bake them at the last moment for an elegant side dish.
Leek and Potato Cabbage Packets
3-400 grams of potatoes (4 good sized ones)
1 large leek (sliced in thin rings)
200 grams cheddar cheese
100 grams bacon bits (lardons)
4-6 savoy cabbage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
Boil the potatoes with the leek until both are tender. In the meantime, blanche the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until just barely cooked. Drain the leaves and allow them to cool. Put the bacon in a pan and fry until crisp. Drain and cool. Grate the cheese. When the potatoes and leek are tender, drain the pan and mash them with the sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now you can assemble the packets: place one or two leaves on a clean surface, overlapping if there are two. Spread 1/4 of the potato and leek mixture in the center and top it with 1/4 of the bacon and 1/4 of the cheese. Carefully roll the leaves until you have a nice little packet. Repeat until you have created four pretty packets. Place them on a cookie sheet. Up to now, you can refrigerate them until you need them.
20 minutes before you want to serve them, preheat the oven to 180c/350F. Bake them until they are hot and bubbling but try to catch them before the leaves brown too much as that can give a bitter flavor. If need be, you can place a piece of brown paper on top of the packets to protect them.
The result is a lovely little packet of flavor. Cabbage and bacon are a natural combination. As the Irish will tell you, cabbage and potatoes also go together rather well. In fact, for all I know this could be a traditional Irish dish and me a big idiot for not realizing it...!