Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Savory Sour Cream Cabbage Strudel

Cabbage is a highly underrated vegetable. Other than the occasional red cabbage in a salad, I can't remember it ever crossing my dinner plate as a child.  I do remember crinkled up noses at the mention of sauerkraut - which still, even living in a country which adores it, makes my nose crinkle. M however loves cabbage.  He goes on and on about how versatile a vegetable and how delicious it is.   I however have very few ideas of how to cook it. 

Meanwhile, my regional vegetable box comes and bring one head of cabbage after another. Did M have any suggestions on what to do with it? nope. So even after heading online, scouring through Austrian cookbooks, I reached the end of my cabbage recipes pretty quickly, but still the cabbage kept showing up at my front door.  I had yet come to appreciate it for what it really was.  It was being patient with me and determined.  Sure I knew it was wonderfully healthy and I really didn't have anything personal against the vegetable, unlike celery, which I dislike.  I just didn't really appreciate what the Austrian national obsession seemed to be with cabbage.

The problem I had was that most American recipes have you use cabbage as some sort of salad, various variations on coleslaw - not really a thing to serve on a cold Austrian winter night. Austrian recipes on the other hand use cabbage all the time, usually as a side to a huge chunk of meat.  Although there was one for meat wrapped in cabbage leaves that I might vegetize in the future using some brown rice instead.  

Then inspiration hit.  Somewhere along the line I had a craving for an American restaurant-style sour cream sauce and somewhere I found a recipe for savory fish & bread strudel.  While fish and sour cream didn't sound all that appetizing to me, cabbage and sour cream sounded good delicious.  Adding in the organic spelt wheat pastry dough available at my grocery store and I was drooling in anticipation. Tada! I had discovered how truly wonderful cabbage can be. This recipe has become a winter staple in my kitchen - which is good because the cabbage keeps on coming.

For this recipe, it helps to have everything ready beforehand. Then it goes rather quickly. 

If your dough is perforated in little triangles, smooth it out gently with a rolling pin. 

If you use all of the filling for 1 strudel, the best way to proceed is to cover the entire dough with filling, leaving a ½-inch border all the way around.  Then roll up the strudel like a snail's home, press the long edge together and fold up the short ones.  With 2 strudels you can proceed as above or as below in the recipe. Most strudel recipes call for the dough to be first brushed with something, milk or egg wash, before the filling is put in.  Feel free to do this, but I haven't found it necessary.  Puff pastry dough holds up pretty well. Actual homemade strudel dough would probably need it.  I'm a lazy cooker and leave this step out - as well as the brush with milk step. I'm usually out of the kitchen by then and have forgotten. 

This recipe can also be made in a casserole dish.  Just put the cabbage in the dish, cover with the sour cream sauce and top with the dough - cook as below. This method works particularly well for dough pre-cut into triangles. 

Savory Sour Cream Cabbage Strudel

Notes: If you don't have spelt puff pastry (Dinklebl├Ątterteig), normal strudel or flaky pastry dough - you know, that blue can that goes POP! from Pillsbury - would work fine.  If whole wheat is available, grab that.  It has a nuttier flavor than regular pastry dough.  Plain old white sugar or agave syrup are fine substitutes for cane sugar. To add a bit of interest and to use up the veggies in your crisper, feel free to chop some up and cook with the cabbage. I used pumpkin one time and it was strangely fantastic. But let cabbage be the star of this strudel!

Servings: 1 very stuffed strudel or 2 lightly filled strudels

Prep time: 15-20 min
Oven time: 30 min

235 ml / 1 cup water + an additional 120 ml / ½ cup
1 large shallot, diced
3 tsp rosemary, dried
2 heaping teaspoons vegetarian bouillon powder 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons demerara or cane sugar
5 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons flour
250 g / ~ 1 cup sour cream
400 g / 14 oz. cabbage, rinsed & chopped (white or green work best)
1 pckg. (~270 g/~9.5 oz.) spelt pastry dough
Salt & Pepper.

Preheat oven to 205°C / 400 ° F
  1. In a saucepan, combine water, shallots, garlic, rosemary and bouillon powder over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  2. Add butter, sugar and lemon juice. Reduce heat to lowest setting.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream and flour with a fork until smooth.
  4. Add sour cream mixture gradually to the water, stirring constantly until thickened, approx. 3- 5 minutes.
  5. Add up to 120 ml / ½ cup water as needed. The sauce should have the consistency of Cream of Mushroom Soup.
  6. Add cabbage (& any other vegetables). Stir until the cabbage is completely covered. Pepper generously. Salt to taste.
  7. Roll out the dough onto a piece of oven-safe parchment paper and place the cabbage mixture onto half of the dough, lengthwise. (or see post above for another method.)
  8. Fold the other half of the dough over the mixture and pinch all edges closed. Fold them up slightly. 
  9. Move the strudel & parchment paper to a baking sheet and cook uncovered in a preheated oven for 20 min. Reduce heat to 175° C / 350°F and cook for an additional 10 min.  For a browner color, brush the strudel top with a bit of milk when you reduce the temperature.  
Other cabbage strudel recipes on the web:
© 2010 Nicole


  1. Ok. These pictures are making me very very hungry.

  2. I forgot to mention in the post that while purple/red cabbage will work, it gives the inside of the strudel a bright pink color. Tastes good, but takes a bit of getting used to eating something pink that isn't sweet - not that I would know from experience or anything.



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