At a farmer’s market two weeks ago I discovered the most beautiful red cabbage I’d ever seen. More than red, the leaves had tinges of green melting into purple- and perhaps because I can’t resist a fresh, vibrantly colored vegetable- it ended up going home with me. But then, it sat in my refrigerator withering away for two weeks while I searched for a recipe worthy of it. I used up the other produce I’d picked up in quick sautees and sandwiches, but I was still at a loss. After being disatisfied by the suggestions at Food Network, I finally searched Allrecipes.com for red cabbage, and came up with several enticing German recipes for pickled cabbage. German, hmmm? To be honest, I’ve had very little experience with German cuisine. My somewhat limited impression was that meat, beer and wheat played a central role in the menu. None of those things led me to have much hope that I could eat much in a German restaurant, so I’ve tended to concentrate on other culinary regions of the world. Having found a German pickled cabbage recipe led me to wonder what other vegetarian, gluten free delights were waiting for me. I searched for vegetarian German food- and found this dish for Badische Schupfnudeln (Potato Noodles) that sounded so enticing, I absolutely had to try it. And thus, my first ever German vegetarian meal was born. And it all began with a purplish green tinged head of cabbage that I found at my local farmer’s market…
I started the cabbage and apples simmering on the stove, and a bit later boiled two and a half russet potatoes. When they were cool, I peeled them and mixed the ingredients for the pasta. I decided to use Bette Hagman’s four flour blend made from Garfava Flour, sorghum flour, corn starch, tapioca flour because it works well as a straight substitute for gluten flour. Also, I’m a fan of the flavor and texture of her bean flour pasta recipe, and wanted to use a high protein flour to compensate for the starchiness of the potato. I was really happy to find as I kneaded the dough that it was elastic and handled reasonably well. With gluten free baking, you can often get a feeling for when a dough will work or not, due to the texture of the raw batter. I could feel in my fingers that this stuff was going to work.The only thing was, the raw bean flour had a strong smell, and I was concerned that it might come through in the final product. (Happily it did not.) Nevertheless, I rolled out the dough and cut it into strips that were what I thought potato noodles should look like. It was only later, when I did a search on yahoo images, that I found out that they should be shaped like little cylinders with twisted edges. Below you can see my “creative” Schupfnedeln, and on the right, what REAL Schupfnedeln looks like.
The original recipe from Allrecipes called for lard, which is just yucky all around. So, I decided to use a healthier combination of butter and olive oil for flavor. Something told me that this dish was meant to be a rich, comfort food. First I sauteed up some onions in a little of the butter and olive oil, and then I took them out of the pan, doing several batches of noodles, making sure to only fry one layer of noodle at a time for optimum browning. The smell was amazing- and when I finally got to try them, I was ecstatic. I had managed to make a food I had never seen before or even heard of before- and make it gluten free, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious. (If I do say so myself.) Maybe because I have a little European in me, I have an unnatural attachment to the potato. And this dish perfectly captures the best features of the potato and uses them. These are reminiscent of gnocchi, which is another of my favorite preparation methods for potatoes, but easier to make. And, they are reminiscent of french fries, without the grease and instead, delicately flavored with fresh herbs. By the Bay’s Lemon Dill Cauliflower and this recipe for pickled red cabbage were wonderful accompaniments- I hope you’ll try them, and experience another country’s cuisine in its gluten free and vegetarian manifestation!
German Red Cabbage
* 1 medium head red cabbage, cored and sliced
* 2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
* 1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 6 whole peppercorns
* 2 whole allspice
* 2 whole cloves
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 2 teaspoons cold water
1. In a Dutch oven, toss cabbage, apples and onion. Add water, vinegar, sugar, butter and salt. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and stir with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
2. Discard spice bag. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir in cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Don’t overcook! Recipe is tart but delightful as a side dish.
Badische Schupfnudeln (Potato Noodles)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 cup GF flour (I used Bette Hagman’s 4 flour blend- don’t let the raw smell of the bean flour throw you- it tastes fine and gives good texture and handle-ability)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh
1 small onion, thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place whole potatoes in their skins into a large pot of boiling water; boil for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove potatoes, and discard water. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes, and place on a lightly floured surface. Mash potatoes with a rolling pin.
2. Place mashed potatoes into a large bowl. Stir in flour, egg, parsley, salt, and nutmeg. Knead well to form a smooth dough. Then roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cut flattened dough into thin strips, about 1 1/2 inches long. Gently roll out the strips, or stretch them until the ends taper. Set aside for 15 minutes.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of butter over medium heat with 1 tsp of olive oil. Saute onions until translucent and browned. Add a little more butter and olive oil if needed, and place one layer of the potato strips into the skillet, and fry until golden brown on both sides. When done, set aside and begin next batch in skillet, adding more butter and oil as needed. Finish browning all potato strips and then add onions back into skillet, tossing gently. Serve and enjoy!
“Traditional of southwestern Germany, this delicious homemade potato noodle goes well with all sorts of dishes.”