Sometimes on the homestead, we have to respond to situations that take longer than anticipated, take a two hour trip to pick something up, or go to the city for an appointment. This means that every once in a while, I find that it's already lunch time, I have a hangry toddler, and nothing has been prepared, yet. But I don't panic anymore, thanks to recipes like this one! We try to home-cook every meal that we eat, so I like having some quick-fixes in my back pocket that I can whip out in a few minutes if need be.
This is one of those recipes: Cabbage and Dumplings. Cabbage-for-lunch may sound like prison food, but this dish of pan-fried cabbage, onions, and whole-wheat dumplings is comforting and surprisingly tasty for how mindlessly easy it is. It's also a cheap, and healthy recipe that has saved us from having to buy lunch at a fast food place more times than I can count. You can make it more complicated, but it can be made just with four ingredients (not counting the salt and pepper), and is so simple that pretty much anyone can do it.
Recipe (serves 4 hungry adults)
--1 head of cabbage, sliced into ribbons or cubed--its up to you
--1 large onion, sliced
--Butter (or oil)
--Salt and Pepper
--1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
--Sage, Paprika, or Caraway seeds (optional, but tasty)
--Non-GMO Soy Sauce (also optional, but also tasty)
1. You'll need the largest pot you've got (I use a wok). Melt at least 1 Tablespoon of butter (I usually put two...or three) and throw in your chopped cabbage and onions. Turn the heat to medium, and stir regularly as the mixture starts to cook. The goal is for everything to get tender, but not yet browned--we'll get to that in a moment.
2. While the cabbage cooks down (this part takes the longest) mix together your dumpling dough. In a mixing bowl, place whole wheat flour, salt and pepper, and water, and mix with your hand until it forms a somewhat firm dough. You can make this fancier by adding sage, paprika, or caraway seeds (or all three!), but it totally works without them, too. If this was a more traditional Slovak/Polish dish, these would be egg noodle-dumplings, but I have found that it works just fine without eggs (especially since all but one of our chickens are still on winter break!) Let the dumpling dough rest a few minutes.
3. Put a large saucepot of water to boil. We'll deal with it in a minute.
4. Back to the cabbage! Now, it should be nicely softened. Add salt and pepper to taste, the kick up the temperature to medium-high or high. You'll have to watch it, but the goal now is to caramelize the outside of the cabbage and onions to a wonderful golden brown (but not black). If you get it right, this turns the dish from "okay" to "OH MY GOSH DO IT AGAIN" so don't rush or skip this part. Once you get the golden color, turn the heat to low and let it sit while you get the dumplings ready.
5. Your water should be boiling now. To make the dumplings, divide the dough into four parts, roll each segment into a snake, then take a sharp knife and cut 1/3" rounds. Throw these (carefully!) into the boiling water, and let them cook for a few minutes.
6. Once the dumplings start to float, give them another minute or so in the boiling water, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to your patiently waiting cabbage.
7. Turn the heat back up to medium, and saute the dumplings for a moment. If desired, shirk any notion that this is an authentic Eastern European dish and add about two teaspoons of soy sauce. It really makes the flavor nicely rounded, in our opinion.
8. Scoop out some in a nice, large bowl, pull up a stool to the table, and enjoy while the snow falls! Pairs best with good conversation, wool socks, and flannel shirts.
This meal is completely doable off-grid, too. You could cook it over a woodstove, or, like we did when we first moved to our homestead (it was too hot to cook indoors), over a fire. With hungry chickens trying to steal your dumplings every time you turn your back...
Do you have any healthy quick-fixes that you use when time is short? Let me know in the comments below! I can always use a new recipe. :)
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
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Simple Life Homestead