This simple and warming dish bakes into so much more than the potatoes and cabbage cooked with a bit of cream and topped with cheese. It's cooking alchemy at its best and most baffling: how can these simple ingredients combine to make such deeply satisfying flavor? Plus, if you use an oven-safe pan from the start it becomes a one-pan meal. You might also like Butter Braised Cabbage, Potato Leek Gratin, or this yummy Braised Cabbage and Onions.
Note: Use the bacon or pancetta for extra flavor, substitute in sausage for a heartier dish, or leave out the meat for a delicious vegetarian dinner.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces bacon or pancetta or 4 ounces bulk or country sausage (optional)
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1/2 pound potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or broth*
- 1 teaspoon coarse grain or country mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded melting cheese (Gruyère, Swiss, or Gouda)
Preheat an oven to 375 F.
Chop the bacon, pancetta, or sausage, if using. Melt the butter in a large oven-proof frying pan or stove-proof baking dish over medium heat. Add the pancetta, bacon, or sausage, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and browned.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the first layer or two of cabbage leaves. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, remove and discard the core, and roughly chop the leaves—you want the chop to be about bite-size, although if you want to shred it or cut it into ribbons, that works, too, creating a greater variety of texture within the final casserole.
Add the cabbage to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into small bite-size pieces. Add them to the pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream or broth, mustard, and pepper. Add the mixture to the pan and stir to combine with the potatoes and cabbage. Cover and bake until the potatoes are just tender, anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Uncover, sprinkle with the cheese, and cook until bubbling and browned, 10 to 15 more minutes.
* It's true: you can use indulgent heavy cream, lighten it up with half-and-half, or keep things even more austere and go with chicken broth or vegetable broth. For people who like the flavor of wine in savory dishes, a dry white wine would work just as well and add a kick of acid that works nicely with the cheese. Remember: there's plenty of cheese on top, so it's not as if you're avoiding dairy or fat in this dish! The dairy elements are what make the humble cabbage and potatoes hearty and filling enough to serve as a simple main dish.