Monday, November 24, 2014

Cabbage Casserole

In Athens, Georgia, there use to be a great little barbecue restaurant called Jot Em Downs.  Its most famous offering was the Cabbage Casserole; and it was so in demand that it was sold out 90% of the time.  It was seriously that good!  I've been trying to replicate the dish for years, and have yet to nail it down (I'm convinced their trick was using the pork drippings to make a rich gravy/broth to add to the roux), but I think I've finally gotten as close as I can get to the recipe using regular kitchen staples.  However, if you happen to have pork shoulder drippings around, I totally recommend adding it to the recipe to replace the chicken broth!  Regardless, Cabbage Casserole is a fantastic dish to bring to holiday gatherings; I guarantee that no one else will bring the same dish.  I'll be taking it to my family's Thanksgiving this year!

Cabbage Casserole
Serves 10-12

1 Head of Cabbage, cored & chopped
1 Onion, diced
11 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder
5 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Milk
3/4 Cup of Chicken Stock
2 Cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated and divided
3 Cups of crushed Salted Butter Crackers


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2.  Cook cabbage in a large pot of salted boiling water until very tender, drain and pat dry. Return cabbage to the pot and keep off the heat. 

3.  Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, sauté the onion in 1 tbsp of butter until soft, about 6-8 minutes.  Add onions to the pot with the cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add garlic powder to taste, if using.

4.  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Once foamy, whisk in the flour, and stir continuously for one minute, until lightly golden and thick.  Slowly pour in the milk and then the chicken stock, stirring constantly.  Bring to a simmer and cook (stirring frequently) until mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese, until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Pour mixture over the cabbage-onion mixture and stir until combined.

5.  In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed crackers and 5 Tbsp of melted butter.  Mix 1 1/2 cups of the cracker mixture in with the cabbage, and then spoon cabbage mixture evenly into the greased casserole dish.  Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese in with the remaining crushed crackers, and then sprinkle it on top of the casserole evenly.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.  Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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