According to Cuisine of Hungary, written by Holocaust survivor George Lang, cabbage strudel was a typical Hungarian recipe often found on the menu at tiny restaurants across the country. Filled with inexpensive, everyday ingredients like mushrooms or cabbage and flavored with caraway, the dough was usually made with lard. Hungarian Jews adapted the recipe, using oil or butter instead of the prohibited lard, and made it their own—traditionally serving it at Simchat Torah and Purim, the two holidays when drinking and revelry take place. (Cabbage has been a classic cure for hangovers since the time of antiquity.)
- 1head cabbage (2 pounds)
- 2teaspoons salt
- ¼cup vegetable oil
- 1medium onion, coarsely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1tablespoon sugar
- 1teaspoon cinnamon
- 8sheets of phyllo dough
- 6tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- ½cup fine bread crumbs
- 1egg white
Yield: serves 8-12 as an hors d’oeuvre or vegetable accompaniment
- Step 1
Remove the core and shred the cabbage, using a food processor or grater.
- Step 2
Sprinkle with the salt and let stand about 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water.
- Step 3
Place the oil in a heavy frying pan. Brown the onion until golden. Remove and begin sautéing the cabbage (you will probably have to do this in two batches), cooking carefully until wilted.
- Step 4
Mix the cabbage and onions. Sprinkle with the pepper, caraway seeds, sugar, and cinnamon. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Step 5
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 6
Cover a pastry board with a cloth. Take 1 phyllo sheet at a time and cover the rest with a damp towel to prevent drying. Lay the sheet on the board and brush with melted butter or olive oil, sprinkling on 1 tablespoon bread crumbs and some pepper. Lay the next phyllo sheet on top and cover with the identical combination. Continue until you have 4 layer of phyllo leaves and topping. Along the longer side of the phyllo, spoon out half of the cabbage filling about 4 inches from the edge of the dough. Fold the edge over the cabbage. Then, using both hands, lift the cloth and let the cabbage roll fall over and over itself, jelly-roll fashion, until the filling is completely enclosed in the pastry sheet. Place, seam side down, in a greased jelly-roll pan. If the roll is too long, cut it with a serrated knife to fit your pan.
- Step 7
Repeat the above process with the remaining 4 phyllo sheets, bread crumbs, cabbage, and pepper.
- Step 8
Brush the crust with additional melted butter or olive oil. Then brush with egg white that has been stirred slightly.
- Step 9
Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden. Slice thin and serve immediately. Or serve lukewarm as a dessert, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
After the rolls have been formed, you can freeze them on cookie sheets and then remove them to plastic containers for freezer storage.