Krautbraten: A German Cabbage and Bacon Casserole
February 6, 2014 § 4 Comments
As a child I was lucky to have wholesome and healthy meals to grow up on. My german mother could take a few simple ingredients and create a delicious and satisfying dinner. We ate a lot of simple food, and my mother could get 3 or 4 meals out of a single chicken. Of course this was done out of necessity at the time, now we call it peasant food and restaurants everywhere get top dollar for it.
Meals made with cabbage, potatoes and bacon were no doubt a poor man’s meal if you will, something my mother learned from her mother growing up during the war. When there wasn’t much left in the larder but potatoes and cabbage, the creative German hausfrau could magically put together a delicious and healthy meal to feed her family. This simple casserole is one of those.
There is an interesting addition of caraway seed in this which gives it a unique flavor. Don’t omit them even if you don’t like caraway seeds, trust me here. They lose their anise-like flavor when cooked this way. A few slices of bacon are laid on the bottom of the casserole, then topped with layers of cabbage and potatoes. There’s also some ground beef added but vegetarians could easily make this without it. Poured over the top is a little cream mixed with egg yolks. And it’s one of those meals that’s even better the next day.
1 medium head green cabbage, core removed
enough slices of bacon to cover the bottom of a large casserole, usually about 5 or 6
5 or 6 potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, I used Yukon Gold
2 pounds ground beef
2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup cream or half and half
3 egg yolks
3 TBL flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a large casserole dish or pan with the bacon slices. Cover these with a few of the large cabbage leaves. Cut the remaining cabbage into thin strips.
Spread half the potatoes over the cabbage leaves.
Mix together the ground beef, salt, pepper, paprika and caraway seeds. You might want to use your hands for this, it will be stiff.
Now alternate layers of the meat mixture and sliced cabbage until it’s used up.
Cover this with the remaining potatoes.
In separate bowl combine cream, egg yolks, flour and salt and pepper, then pour this over the potatoes.
Cover and bake about 45 minutes until potatoes are soft.
Let rest about 10 minutes.
Serve with a salad and maybe some applesauce.