The following recipe of cabbage casserole was inspired by Transylvanian Feast, a cookbook written by Pál Kövi. He wasn’t even Transylvanian – he was born in Balassagyarmat, Hungary in 1924 -, but he had close ties to it, as he graduated from the University of Transylvania.
Pál Kövi was a former owner and director of the Four Seasons restaurant and a major figure on the New York restaurant scene for almost four decades. At the peak of his career he got hooked on the Transylvanian cuisine, and decided to collect the last Hungarian, Armanian, Jewish and Saxon recipes from Transylvania in order to prevent them from fading into oblivion.
- 1 head of white cabbage (weight approx. 1,4 kg ~ 3 lbs)
- 1-2 tbsp lard
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 slice of white bread
- 50 ml (~1/4 cup) milk
- 3 eggs
- 150 g (~2/3 cup) butter, softened
- 2 heaping tbsp flour
- 1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 80 g (~3 oz) grated cheese
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into quarters and shred on the large hole side of a box grater. In a sauté pan heat lard, add cabbage and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and cook, while stirring frequently, until soft and tender. Set aside and let it cool until lukewarm.
Break the bread into pieces and soak them in milk.
Grease a 20×30 cm / 8×12 inch casserole dish or baking pan.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. In a separate mixing bowl cream butter, then mix in the egg yolks. Add flour, sautéed cabbage and soaked bread (it doesn’t need to be squeezed), and with a wooden spoon stir until well combined. Finally, fold in the egg whites. Transfer the mixture in the prepared dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs over it, and cover with grated cheese. Cook in the oven at 200°C / 392°F for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown (oven doesn’t need to be preheated).