I have had 2 small heads of cabbage sitting in my fridge for weeks, just waiting for me to do something with them. I’ve had a craving for haluski lately, which is a Polish dish of skillet fried cabbage and onions with potato dumplings. It’s delicious. I first had it a few years ago when I attended a Polish festival. As soon as I learned the name for it, I scoured the Internet for a recipe. I found one that looked simple and really tasty. The only problem? It called for 3 sticks of butter!! I don’t know about you, but that just sounded excessive. Plus, given the cost of butter these days, I can think of much better ways to use it–like to bake cookies!
This recipe scales the butter waaaaay back, and supplements with some oil. It’s still delicious, and it won’t give you a heart attack mid-meal. One important tip: the type of potato you use is very important. Use a potato with a dry texture, like a russet. I used some fingerlings that I got with our CSA share a few weeks ago because they needed to be used. They had a waxy texture that caused the dumplings to be mushy. I knew this going in, but decided to use them anyway. Next time I won’t. Any potato that makes good mashed (not gloopy) potatoes will work fine (this also includes Yukon Gold, Purple Viking, or All Blue varieties). We served this with a ham steak (from the locally raised hog we bought from the CSA) and it was an absolutely divine meal!
Polish Haluski (adapted from Babas Authentic Polish Haluski)
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups mashed potatoes
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted add cabbage and onions. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage and onions turn golden brown. Add a little salt to taste.
Set a large pot of water to boil. While cabbage is cooking, mix potatoes with eggs. Knead in enough flour and salt to form a soft, pliable dough that isn’t sticky. Roll the dough into a log about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut dough into 1 inch pieces and drop into boiling water. Cook about 12 minutes. To test for doneness, pull a dumpling from the water and break it open with a fork. The dumpling should look dry on the inside.
When dumplings are done, drain and gently stir them into the cabbage mixture. Add more salt if needed, and top with some ground black pepper.
Today Hubby, The Stinker and I bought our Christmas tree permit and headed into the National Forest to find our treasured tree. We found a very nice specimen. Hubby and I are pretty conscientious about which tree we take. We don’t like to take trees that are sort of out by themselves that we know will someday grow to be nice large forest giants. We try to find a tree that is close to other trees so that we end up “thinning the herd,” so to speak. The problem with that approach is sometimes when the trees grow close together, the branches don’t fill out on individual trees because they are a little too crowded. It can be hard to find a good tree sometimes, but last year Hubby found a place that has TONS of trees, of all different ages, so that there will be plenty of Christmas trees for years and years to come. We found a beauty of a specimen and the great thing about it was we didn’t have to haul it far to where we parked the truck. When we left town it was raining, but it was snowing up in the mountains. A dense, heavy, wet snow. The roads quickly turned from muddy to snowy and super-duper slick. We took the “scenic” route home, which can also be treacherous. Just as we were beginning to doubt our decision, Hubby remembered that we had chains in the truck. No worries!
We passed a beautiful patch of quaking aspen, and I love their stark white trunks in the winter time. I thought they looked especially beautiful this afternoon with a little layer of freshly fallen snow on the branches. Hubby found some Christmas music on the radio and we listened to Bing Crosby on our way home. It was a great afternoon. Tomorrow: skiing!