Monday, January 24, 2011

Amish Cabbage Noodle Casserole

I've learned a lot about thrift, simple ways, food and farming from my Amish friends. I’ve talked about my Amish friend Ellen and her family over on the website. I visited with her recently and her teenage daughter Suzy was putting together a supper dish with some cabbage and onions they had in cold storage. Ellen’s ‘cold storage’ is actually the back end of a refrigerator truck that runs on a diesel generator. They recently created a freezer section and sealed it off so they now have ice cream all the time, which makes all the kids still living at home very happy, as well as visitors. Especially when Ellen has made one of her apple pies.
But back to the cabbage-noodle casserole. I’ve always loved cooked cabbage and I’ve had it every which way, including a similar dish my Hungarian grandmother used to make. Like a lot of Amish people Ellen’s heritage is Pennsylvania Dutch and they cook many traditional dishes – along with the occasional pineapple pizza (!) -- and Ellen sometimes adds some homemade sausage or bacon to it. She wrote down the recipe for me and I added a few things (yeah, the parsley and the crumb top), as the foodie in me can’t resist. I served it as a New Year’s dish. It’s a great winter dish and like a lot of Amish cooking, knows how to stretch a food dollar.

Amish Cabbage Noodle Casserole
Serves 6 to 81 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh dill
Half a (16-ounce) package egg noodles (kluski or Amish brand noodles are best)
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup coarse bread crumbs (you can use Panko)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the cabbage, onion and garlic until the cabbage is wilted but still bright green (browning it a bit adds flavor). Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss in a large bowl with the cabbage. Beat the sour cream with the egg and stir into the noodle-cabbage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the noodle-cabbage mixture to a greased 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and combine with the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 10 to 15 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the top is golden brown.

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