I find it very interesting to see how we Americans take festive or historical days from other cultures and give them our own spin and importance, Cinco de Mayo for example.
Today we celebrate another of these adaptive holidays, St. Patrick's Day. While lots of people will be celebrating with sometimes raucous parades and lots of green beer, some of us frugal types will relish the opportunity to buy some of those "Irish staples"--cabbage, potatoes and corned beef--at their lowest annual prices.
Several years ago, the New York Times carried an article that praised the lowly cabbage and gave some suggestions for using this versatile vegetable. Before we get to the many options I have here on the blog, you might want to check that item out:
For now, I have once again stocked up, buying as many heads of cabbage that I could store in my refrigerator and garage "root cellar." Kept cold, cabbage will stay fresh and ready to eat for weeks, so I can be assured of a supply for salads, soups, and more.
Use the Search box above to find all the many entries for cabbage-containing dishes I have included over the years. Or just go to one or more of the few selected links below:
First, whas it probably the most frequent use for cabbage today, cole slaw. The following post includes the non-creamy kind of slaw with no mayo. It's a great piquant side for sandwiches or "casserole" main dishes.
Maybe this year you could make corned beef sandwiches (on rye of course) with a side of cole slaw instead of the "traditional" corned beef and cabbage that many people really don't like.
Another old standby for cabbage is as an ingredient in vegetable soups. Here, the variations are endless, and you could start by just adding finely shredded cabbage to your favorite soup recipe, along with the vegetables that need up to an hour of cooking. Use a little if you are trying to introduce your family to this "new" addition and more as you begin to find out how much added good flavor the cabbage provides.
The soup found at the following link is a surprising one if you think of cabbage as only a smelly, slimy side your mother forced you to eat. Here, the combination of squash, cabbage, and onions results in a flavorful soup that will have everyone coming back for seconds. As a vegan option with lots of bright-colored vegetables, it's a nutritious power house as well.
This Potato Soup post includes cabbage only down in the bottom list of variations; I think I would move it up to a more prominent place if I were to write the entry again. In fact, I just made the clam chowder variation this week with several cups of finely shredded cabbage included, and it was a winner.
And then there is this soup, made with lots of "leftover" vegetables and beans. While the recipe calls for just a cup of shredded cabbage, I almost always include at least double that amount. Again, as noted in the comments, this is just a starting guide for making wonderful soups using the foods you have in your kitchen at any given time.
No beans? Then let's try barley as an added, vegetarian, protein boost.
Not ready for soup? How about this?
Well, you get the point. Cabbage is something that can be a great addition to your menus, now or any time of year. So pick up a head or two and start shredding away!
Still to come: Stuffed Cabbage! With all these wonderful outer leaves, I am ready to spend the weekend preparing several batches to pop in the freezer. Watch for it here on the blog soon.