There are some things, meaning foodstuff and its preparation, that somehow should not relate to one another. Take cabbage baked in a creamy casserole. Somehow, to me, the two don't fit. Well, how about adding cheese. Cabbage and cheese, now that is really way out of what I imagine good is all about. Okay, throw in a can of condensed soup and make it au gratin. I've said it before about my behavior, 'dat boy done lost his mind.'
Turns out, this combination makes one heck of a casserole. I found this recipe, or the basis of it, in an old SL magazine. Of course, I changed it to 'what I imagine good is all about.' Now, when choosing a head of fresh cabbage, pick one that is solid, heavy in weight in relation to its size. The outer leaves should be crisp, bright and fresh looking with no bruising.
Creamy Cabbage and Cheese Casserole
so buttery and complex tasting, yet so simple
6 to 8 servings
1 medium head of green cabbage
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 -10.5 oz can condensed cream of celery soup (Campbell's)
1 -5 oz jar processed sharp cheese spread (Kraft Old English)
white pepper to taste
1/3 cup Panko
Remove stem and core cabbage. Break leaves from the head, cut away the ribs and submerge leaves under cold water for about 10 minutes. Drain well and cut into half-inch strips.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium stockpot, heat over high heat about 2 quarts of salted water and at boil, place cabbage leaves into the pot. Cover, return to boil and cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow cabbage to set for about 5 minutes. Drain well.
In a saute pan over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and when melted add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until both are wilted (cover to speed) and stir in the soup undiluted along with the cheese spread. Reduce heat to low and allow mixture to meld, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until combined.
Place half of the cabbage leaves in a greased 2-quart casserole. Spoon half of the cheese mixture on top and sprinkle very lightly with the white pepper. Repeat layers. Sprinkle the Panko on top of the cheese mixture. Dot with the butter. Bake for about 30 minute or until bubbly and au gratin is browned.