Hungarian Cabbage Noodles
Being of Hungarian descent, this noodle dish was a staple side dish at many of our family meals. There are some variations on this recipe in cookbooks and online, but the simplicity of the buttery noodles permeated with the flavor and sweetness of sauteed cabbage is really what this dish is all about.
Hungarian Cabbage Noodles
- 12 ounces broad egg noodles
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium head of cabbage (about 8 cups), chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large, shallow casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Prepare the egg noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add about 1/3 of the chopped cabbage, season with a pinch of salt and cook until wilted and reduced in bulk. Repeat with the other two batches of cabbage, being sure to season with a bit more salt each time.
Continue cooking until the cabbage begins to caramelize slightly and edges turn golden. Add a few grinds of black pepper, and adjust the salt to taste. Stir in the chicken broth and milk, and cook until heated through.
Combine the cabbage mixture with the drained noodles and toss to distribute well. Taste for seasoning again and adjust if necessary.
Transfer the noodles to the prepared casserole. Cover tightly and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and dot with the extra tablespoon of butter. Raise the oven temperature to 375° and return the noodles to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the top browns a little and the crumbs toast slightly.
Makes 8 servings
Our original family recipe for cabbage noodles called for 2 sticks of butter to a one-pound package of egg noodles, a rather outrageous (albeit delicious) amount by today's standards. We replaced that second stick of butter with a combination of chicken broth and milk. You can also use yolk-free egg noodles, low-fat milk and a good tasting butter blend (like Smart Balance) to cut the fat even more. Naturally the dish is not as rich, but the flavor remains on target.
Special Note: Recipes such as this vary from family to family and region to region, and they continue to evolve as they are passed down through the generations, often depending on changes in personal tastes, access to ingredients and sometimes even dietary restrictions. We welcome constructive feedback about recipe variations and family traditions, but insulting, purely contradictory comments will not be published.