Sunday, September 14, 2008

An ode to cabbage

I really love cabbage - all the different kinds - but I do think that the simplest white head cabbage is the most versatile. Fresh salads, braised sides, stews, soups, Japanese pancakes, sauerkraut ... the list is endless. And it's SO good for you.

This summer I was taking a train to Tartu and an old lady (83) sat next to me. She was really curious and really, really wanted to chat. Apparently she had been a lung-doctor all her life. So the majority of her monologues centered around health. Luckily there was a next stop pretty soon and a guy with a crutch came and sat next to us (65, had a stroke 7 months ago). That's when I learned that eating raw white cabbage is good for weight-loss (eavesdropping on old people's conversations is so much more fun than actually participating in them :). I also learned that linen-seed oil and honey-water is good for lowering cholesterol and a lot of other stuff.

But back to cabbage. My mom grows some, so there I was, sitting on a huge batch of home-grown, thinking what to do with it, when an old child-hood favorite dawned on me. Cabbage-pie! And not the small ones, but the big one.

Big cabbage-pie. (Kapsapirukas vene moodi.)

1 glass of warm milk;
25 grams of fresh yeast or 1 sachet;
2 eggs;
2 tsp salt;
2 tbsp of butter;
flour (~250 g.)

Warm the milk (but it can't be hot or it'll kill the yeast and your dough won't rise) and melt the butter in it. If you're using dry yeast, mix it with the flour, if you're using fresh, mix it into the milk. Add salt and flour and then one egg. Add enough flour until the dough is kneadable.
Leave it under a fresh towel in the bowl for it to rise, then knead through once more and leave to rise again.

1/2 - 3/4 of a large white cabbage, thinly chopped
3 eggs
2 tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 onion

Chop the cabbage and stew it (if you're in a hurry, you can add some water to boil it, but you then need to drain it). Stew until it's tender. Add salt and pepper (be generous with the pepper) and butter.
Boil the eggs until they're hard, chop or mash and mix the eggs into the cabbage.

Preheat the oven to 175 C (350F). Sprinkle some flour on the table and roll out the dough so it's not too thin (you should be able to pick it up and lay it on the oven-pan). The dough should be twice the size of your pie i.e. twice the size of your oven-pan.

Grease the pan or cover it with some baking-parchment and transfer the dough so that half of it stick over the edge.
Lay out the cabbage-filling in a nice thick layer leaving 2 cm from each side. Fold over the dough so it covers the filling.
Knead the edges together.
Whisk up the remaining egg and paint the top.
Bake until golden (10 - 15 min).

It's quite a time-consuming project, but you can considerably shorten it by preparing the cabbage-filling on a night before (or at least stewing the cabbage) and buying the yeast-dough from the supermarket.
It makes a perfect veggie dinner or something to take with you in a lunch-box.


Carole Baker said...

I found the beginning of a recipe for Kapsapirukas on the back of a page I had saved from a magazine for a different recipe.... all it has is the ingredients on the page I have.... so I googled and am so glad to find your similar ingredients plus instructions and your blog which I will be sure to return to. Its going to take me a while to get away.

Carole Baker said...

I forgot to say thank you.

Kat said...

I'm glad you found it useful, let me know how you liked it :)