Delicious in Beige: Cabbage with Noodles (Zeljove krpice)

I have a family member (who shall remain nameless) that is well known for his love of  beige foods.  Thanksgiving is really his time to shine, and next week he will surely have a plate heaped with potatoes, turkey, dinner rolls, stuffing, gravy, apple pie and maybe a tiny smidgen of corn or sweet potatoes to brighten things up (but never salad and never cranberry sauce).   The honest truth is that he just doesn’t eat many vegetables, but I like to think it’s because he is fully committed to a color scheme.

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Inspired by beige and a cabbage that needed to be used, I turned to a new-to-me cookbook that I found at the library, Recipes from a Slovenian Kitchen (sadly, it appears to be out of print though you can find used copies on Amazon through the link above).  However, even if you can’t get your hands on that particular book, the recipe that I found is pretty common in Slovenian cuisine and can be found in a multitude of other places.

I learned after reading Recipes from a Slovenian Kitchen that white flour was for a long time considered almost a delicacy in Slovenia.  Most families had to rely on eating only what crops they could grow, and white flour was typically reserved for the rich.  White bread was actually a very special treat for most families and something reserved for special occasions.  So while at first glance this recipe, to me, looked like typical peasant food with only a handful of ingredients, noodles were for a very long time more of a delicacy than the staple ingredient we all take for granted in 2016.

I have had this dish with the homemade noodle squares detailed below, but in the version I photographed I used store-bought egg noodles.  My recommendation is to just cut the cabbage to whatever size your noodles are — in squares if you’re doing it homemade, or shredded thinly when paired with smaller un-homemade noodles, as I did here.  This recipe would be a perfect Thanksgiving side dish (especially if you’re into beige!) but is also a comforting, easy dinner for cooler fall and winter evenings.

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Cabbage with Noodle Squares

(adapted from Recipes from a Slovenian Kitchen)

Serves 4

Cabbage:

  • 9oz cabbage (about 1/2 large head of cabbage)
  • 3-6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt

Noodle Dough:

  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons water

NOTE: If you wish to use store bought noodles, simply use a quantity equivalent to the amount of cabbage you have (I just eyeballed it).  I used “fine egg noodles” from a local Amish manufacturer.

IF YOU ARE MAKING YOUR OWN NOODLES:

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well.  Add the eggs and water, then whisk lightly with a fork.  Work in the flour to make a dough.  Knead on a lightly-floured surface until smooth.
  2. Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into strips about 3/4-inch wide, then cut then across into squares.
  3. Boil a large pan of salted water and add the noodle squares.  Boil, reduce heat and simmer until noodles are tender.  Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

IF YOU ARE NOT MAKING YOUR OWN NOODLES:

  1. Boil a large pan of salted water and add the noodles.  Follow package instructions for cooking time, until noodles are tender.  Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

USING EITHER METHOD:

  1. Cut the cabbage into pieces about the same size as your noodles (squares, or if you are using egg noodles, sliced to a similar width, as though for coleslaw)
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large pan.  Add sugar until it starts to color.  Add the onion and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the cabbage, cumin, and salt to taste.  Add a spoonful (or more – you want it to simmer slightly) of cooking water from the noodles and cook the cabbage for 3-5 minutes, until soft.  *At this point, you may wish to add more butter for flavor.
  4. Fully drain the noodles (either type) and mix in to your cabbage.

2 thoughts on “Delicious in Beige: Cabbage with Noodles (Zeljove krpice)”

    1. Cabbage is one of those foods that I think got ruined for me as a kid because it always smelled terrible, but I totally appreciate it as an adult.

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