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How to Make Dark Days Cabbage and Potato “Lasagna”

Cabbage and potato "lasagna"

We will admit, this recipe is a bit of a chore (even for us, and we’re usually the “no, it’s easy!” people). However, it is a great way to use up all the random cabbage and potatoes that you may have gotten as part of a winter CSA.  At the very least it is filling, reheats well, and makes a lot (leftovers!).

Although it is vegetarian, it is very rich, since it consists largely of a béchamel sauce (read: butter). Despite the effort, we will make it again when we find ourselves with these ingredients on hand. It is definitely the type of recipe that gets easier and easier the more times you make it, since it is all about timing the steps and coordinating what you do. If you do it correctly you can easily shave 30 minutes off your worst time. Definitely try this one on a Sunday, not a weekday!

Cabbage and Potato “Lasagna”

Makes 6-8 servings

Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
9 TBsp Unsalted butter Ronnybrook Farm Dairy
3 TBsp + 1 tsp All-purpose flour King Arthur
2.66 cups Whole or low-fat milk (not skim) Shaw Farm
0.25 tsp Nutmeg Preferably freshly ground
To taste Kosher salt
To taste Black pepper Freshly ground
1 Medium onion Chopped Paffenroth Gardens
1 clove Garlic Minced Keith’s Farm
1 lb Assorted mushrooms (we used Crimini, Shitake, and Porcini) Thinly sliced Enterprise Farm
1 TBsp Fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried sage) Finely chopped, if fresh
3-4 lbs Cabbage See details for preparation Red Fire Farm CSA
1/2 cup White wine Dry, not sweet
1.5 lbs Potatoes Sliced as thinly as possible. Use Yukon gold or another non-waxy variety. Red Fire Farm CSA
1 cup Cheese Grated, Parmesan is best but we used Cheddar Red Fire Farm CSA

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. The first step is to make a béchamel sauce. Put a saucepan over medium heat. Wait for it to come to temperature then add 6 TBsp of the butter and wait for it to melt. If it begins to spit or bubble, nudge the heat down. We want the butter to melt smoothly not brown or burn.
  3. Add the flour, and stir continuously for 3 minutes. You don’t want it to sit still or it will brown.
  4. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 5 – 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
  6. Get out a large glass (Pyrex or similar) baking dish (9×9 is a good size). Remove enough of the outer leaves of the cabbage to cover the bottom of the dish with two layers of cabbage leaves. The larger leaves that you have to work with, the better. Leave these in the dish and take the remaining head of cabbage, cut it into quarters, cut the thick core out of each quarter, and then finely chop the quarters into a cole slaw consistency. Put this chopped cabbage into a bowl with the chopped mushrooms and sage.
  7. Put a saute pan or skillet over medium heat and melt 2 TBsp of the butter, then add the onions and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent.
  8. Add the mushrooms, the sage, and the chopped cabbage. Saute for about 10 minutes.
  9. Add the wine and saute until the wine is almost entirely evaporated. Then, add the béchamel sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, until it thickens while still maintaining some fluidity. If it gets too thick. thin it out by mixing in a dash of milk or water. Salt and pepper it to taste.
  10. While waiting for the simmer, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once at a boil, add the cabbage leaves that you removed and leave them for about 2 minutes to blanch. Then drain them, run cold water over them, and pat them dry. In the process, make sure your simmer is still under control!
  11. Use the last TBsp of butter to grease the glass baking dish. Then, assemble the “lasagna” by putting a layer of cabbage leaves on the bottom, then a layer of potatoes (roughly half), then a lawyer of half of the mushroom / cabbage / béchamel sauce. Repeat the same process for a second layer. Top with the grated cheese.

    Layer 1 (and 4):  cabbage leavesLayer 2 (and 5):  sliced potatoesLayer 3 (and 6):  mushroom béchamel sauceLayer 7:  grated cheese

  12. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and back for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for ANOTHER 20 minutes so that it browns nicely on top.
  13. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving, or else it wil be a runny mess. Allow it to set and solidify a bit (and cool down!)
  14. Mmmmm....

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