Cheesy Cabbage Gratin

One of the food magazines that I subscribe to is Cuisine at Home. It’s a magazine that has consistently good recipes, easy to follow instructions, and great pictures. The latest issue is full of “comfort foods.” We love cabbage and the September/October issue has several cabbage recipes including a chocolate cake with cabbage and this cheesy cabbage gratin. I haven’t tried the chocolate cake with cabbage but I’ve made this gratin recipe twice since this magazine came in the mail. The first time I made it we had it with polish sausage. Most recently we made it a vegetarian meal with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob.

There is red, white and green cabbage. Cabbage is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Generally a head of cabbage is between one to two pounds. The perfect size for this recipe. I have a crock full of shredded cabbage right now that is working it’s way to sauerkraut. Each of the heads of cabbage I shredded for the kraut weighed between ten and twelve pounds. In the heat of summer cabbages can grow quite large…the largest recorded weighed in at a little over 138 pounds. You could make a lot of cabbage gratin with that!! Cabbage is a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin K and C. It is economical and there are countless ways to prepare cabbage…stewing, frying, braising, pickling, fermenting. There are lots of great soup recipes that call for cabbage. If you like cabbage and bacon and cheese you will thoroughly enjoy this dish regardless of what you serve up on the side.

Ingredients:

1 head of green cabbage

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 strips of bacon diced

1 cup sliced leeks

1 T minced garlic

1 T AP flour

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 T lemon juice

2 T chopped fresh thyme

Ingredients for the Topping

1 T olive oil

3/4 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded gruyere

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp minced lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Peel off the tough outer layers of cabbage and cut the cabbage into eight wedges. The instructions recommended leaving the core intact to help the wedges hold together while roasting. I removed the core before roasting and had no problem. Place the wedges on the baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40-45 minutes until the cabbage is tender and the edges are golden.

While your cabbage is roasting cook your diced bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

Add the leeks to the skillet with the bacon drippings and cook over medium heat until they are softened. Stir in the garlic and the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

Stir in the cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, 6-8 minutes.

Off heat, stir in the bacon, gruyere, parmesan and lemon juice.

Set the cheese sauce aside and prepare the bread crumb topping. Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bread crumbs until they begin to toast up and transfer them to a bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.

Once the bread crumbs have cooled, stir in the cheeses and lemon zest.

Now you’re ready to assemble the gratin. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the cabbage in the dish, cut side down. Pour the cheese sauce over the cabbage wedges and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and the crumb topping has browned.

Serve hot as side dish to pork loin, chops or sausage or as the main dish. Maybe even as a Thanksgiving side dish. Enjoy!

NOTE: I save crusts and odds and ends of stale bread In the refrigerator, grind them in my food processor and freeze them in zip lock bags. The bread doesn’t go to waste and they’re perfect for recipes like this one.

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