Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cabbage and Leek Gratin: SO Not Vegan

...and it's not much of a looker, but it's delicious.

I pulled this (almost) entire from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers cookbook, which J's parents gave me for my birthday last year. Here it is with Deborah Madison's proportions, but mostly my prose:

1 1/2 pounds green cabbage, Savoy if possible, chopped into 2" squares
3 fat leeks, white parts only, quartered & chopped
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
3 eggs
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or dill

1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter or oil a 6-cup gratin dish (I used a glass pie plate)

2. Put water on to boil for the cabbage, and when it boils, add some salt and the cabbage and leeks & boil for 5 minutes. After that, press as much water out of the vegetables as possible so it doesn't dilute the custard (I squeezed the water out using a lint-free tea towel).

3. Whisk the flour, milk, sour cream, eggs, and herbs together, then add the veg. Season with salt. Pour into the dish and bake until firm and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.

Now, what I did differently: the major difference is that I used marjoram instead of the the parsley or dill--mainly because I was in the mood for marjoram, and also because I think it goes nicely with egg. I also added about 3/4 cup white cheddar to the mix, in part because I was not planning to make the mustard cream sauce that DM suggests to go alongside it (though that would be good, too--I just didn't have any shallots or white wine vinegar in the house).

I also just realized that I think I only put in 1/3 cup of milk, too, but it worked out beautifully anyway. I can't think how the extra milk would have changed much about it, though maybe it'd have been creamier. Anyway, no loss!

Making it again, I would continue to use the marjoram, but I would also consider making a breadcrumb crust for a little textural contrast. This one doesn't want a full-blown crust, I think. But DM is right about Savoy cabbage being a better choice than quotidian green cabbage. The cheddar was a nice choice, but for those of you out there who don't have to avoid rennet I can see various delightful variations on the theme. I think Cheshire would have been perfect in this, but I couldn't find any. And if I weren't allergic to pork, I think a bit of bacon would add a lot.

Now, because this recipe is SO not vegan, I expect I may be attempting a lactose-free version for J sometime soon! So I wonder if substituting silken tofu for the sour cream and soy milk for the milk would work. In that case, I think I would use dill instead of marjoram to compensate for the tofu's blandness.

The whole thing was very quick & easy to assemble, and the baking required no attention at all.


Rob said...

That looks really good. I may have that for dinner tomorrow night. (I've got a big ole ribeye slathered in bearnaise in front of me now, so you're still more vegan than I am.)

How is J with yogurt? From what I've read a lot of lactose-intolerant people can handle yogurt just fine as long as it doesn't contain milk solids. That would be a dandy sub for the sour cream.

Orion said...

YUM! I love cabbage and this looks like a scrumptious way to use it as an ingredient! Lovely Tes! Thanks! Also, Maddie looks so cute!

kimberly said...

Cabbage is a vegetable which is composed of water but contain potassium, magnesium and vitamins that help our body. Many people like to prepare salad or another kind of recipe. You mus to approach all the propeties this vegetable.

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