Cabbage Gratin Recipe

Cabbage Gratin Recipe Recipe

The weather has been so cold and windy in the Bay Area that this gratin dish received a warm welcome from the family at dinnertime. Little cottage cheese filled cabbage dumplings are cooked in a hearty mache sauce, then finished with a bit of cheese. Cabbage gratin, or "gratin de chou" in French, has comfort food written all over it.  

I tried to make this gratin as healthy as possible. This casserole dish is packed with greens and is high in protein, since 14 ounces of cottage cheese has at least 50 grams of protein (compared to a 6-ounce steak with 42 grams). Not that you should consider eating the whole thing by yourself! 

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1 head white cabbage (about 1 pound total)
14 ounces cottage cheese
1 egg
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, freshly grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon red chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 (4-ounce) package mâche leaves (see tips)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
1 tablespoon Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Asiago cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper


Directions

Prepping the filling:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, 1 egg, grated garlic, red chili powder, turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Add parsley and dill and mix again.

How to wrap the cabbage dumplings:

Core and separate all the cabbage leaves from the root, which is fibrous and tough to eat. Wash the cabbage thoroughly under cold running water. 

Boil both the cabbage leaves in about a quart of salted boiling water for about 2-3 minutes until softened. Drain and immediately transfer the leaves into a cold water bath. Turn the leaves over and carefully slice off some of the thick vein so the leaves roll up more easily. Pat dry on towels. Remove as much liquid as possible. Season with salt.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the middle of a cabbage leaf. Fold the cabbage around the filling. On the horizontal side of the leaf, take one side and fold it over to the bottom of the little package. Then take the other side, folding it over, too. Make sure the filling is nicely covered. Place them onto a plate, seam side down.

Making the mâche sauce:

Blend the mâche leaves with about 1½ cups warm water. Coarsely blend until smooth. Set aside.

In a heatproof pot of Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add flour. Keep stirring manually with a whisk for approximately 3 minutes. The butter and flour should form a paste. Add the warm milk in 2 stages and stir well until fully incorporated. Increase the heat while constantly stirring; add the mâche liquid, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Assembly time:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the lid from the mâche sauce. Add ½ cup water, stir and bring to a boil.  Place the cabbage dumplings into the pot, seam side down, so they're secure. Cover again and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. Adjust seasoning. 

Remove the lid, sprinkle with the Monterey Jack and Asiago cheeses, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden. Broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden top (if necessary). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Parboiling means briefly boiling the cabbage leaves. Think "par-tial" boiling = parboiling. You could skip this step but you'll have very large wraps and the rolls will be harder to make.

You can find French mâche (also known as "lamb's ear lettuce" in the U.S.) at Trader Joe's. A 4-ounce bag costs $2.49. It's a little pricey but it is worth it. It's by far my favorite lettuce. I buy several bags every time I go to Trader Joe's. I sometimes add it to when making green drinks or fruit smoothies. You could substitute spinach, arugula, parsley, cilantro, basil or even regular salad lettuce for the mâche.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 6, 2013.


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