Potatoes are there for you all year long, no matter the weather.
Ditto cabbage and onions.
So a dish like this Potato Cabbage Wonder Pie is frugal any time of year – with a good dose of nutrients.
It involves simmering potatoes and cauliflower until tender, then mashing them and blending with a mixture of cooked cabbage.
And if it isn’t the right time of year for cauliflower (or if for your people it is never the right time for cauliflower) just sub in extra potatoes and all’s good.
One ingredient that may surprise you? Molasses.
A tablespoon of molasses added to onions and cabbage while they cook gives a bit of intensity to the flavor and brings out the sweetness of the cabbage without leaving a linger of molasses.
Add Gruyere cheese and some sour cream, a couple of eggs for stability (though you can leave them out if you don’t do eggs) and you’re done.
And the wonder part is the flexibility of this dish. No cauliflower? No problem – add extra potatoes, or try broccoli if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Hate kale? Add more cabbage instead. Out of Gruyere? Cheddar will do.
The other wonder is how these simple ingredients work together to create a dish that feeds and satisfies a small crowd.
(Note: if you are a vegetarian, check your cheeses to make sure there is no rennet in them. Rennet is an enzyme derived from the lining of a young mammal’s intestines (usually cow or pig), and it plays a role in the cheese curd forming process. In Canada, most commercial cheeses use ‘microbial’ or ‘bacterial’ enzyme, which is derived from non-animal sources.)
- 2-1/4 lb / 1 kg potatoes peeled and quartered (halved if small)
- 1 small head cauliflower cut into large pieces
- 2-3 cloves garlic slivered
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped (about 1 cup / 250 ml)
- 1/2 small head of cabbage about 3 cups / 750 ml finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml molasses
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml water
- 2 cups / 500 ml chopped kale
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml sour cream
- 1 cup / 250 ml grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml finely chopped fresh parsley optional
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml grated Parmesan
Place potatoes, cauliflower, slivered garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until a sharp knife or fork can easily pierce the vegetables, about 10 minutes.
While potatoes and cauliflower are cooking, prepare cabbage, kale and spinach.
Heat a fry pan over medium-low heat. When pan is hot add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add onion and cook until soft. Do not let onion brown. If it starts to brown, turn down heat.
Add cabbage and stir to coat with oil. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and molasses and stir until cabbage is coated. Cook a few minutes longer, stirring to prevent sticking. Add water and simmer, covered until cabbage is tender.
Add kale and simmer until wilted. Stir in spinach.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees C / 177 degrees C.
Drain potato mixture and place potatoes, cauliflower and garlic slivers in mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher or gricer until no large chunks remain. Add cabbage mixture, sour cream, Gruyere and parsley (if using). Stir to combine. Add eggs and mix in quickly until thoroughly blended.
Spoon mixture into a large, lightly greased pie plate or casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve hot. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated.