Cabbage Lasagna – Cast Iron Version
Winter is coming to Alberta. The days are shorter. The weather is getting cold and damp, and downright depressing some days. So what do we do to feel better? EAT, of course.
There is nothing like simple comfort food to take the edge off the dreary days. This recipe is a play on the Italian favourite, lasagna. I am not going to kid you, or myself. Changing out lasagna noodles for cabbage does NOT make this a healthier option to the pasta favourite. I find this flavourful and interesting.
- 2 lbs ground beef or moose elk, or venison.
- 1 large cabbage
- 3 large balls of fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 500 g containers Ricotta cheese
- 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms optional
- 2 Bay Leaves optional
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tbsp oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato paste possibly 2
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This step should be done the night before you are going to build the casserole. Thin slice the mozzarella cheese and place in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of oregano, a pinch of salt and a pinch on pepper, along with 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil ensure the cheese is evenly coated with spice and olive oil, cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a large frying pan, brown ground beef with onions, mushrooms (sliced), dry mustard, and 1 tbsp of oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Once the meat is browned, add 2 cans of tomato sauce and bring to a soft boil. Add the can of tomato paste. Unlike regular lasagna, this sauce should be very thick, but not completely dry. If necessary, add another can of tomato paste to thicken.
In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, ½ of the parmesan cheese and 2 eggs.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove core from cabbage and ¼ it. Place quarters in boiling water with a pinch of salt. Boil until soft and workable. Once cabbage is soft and workable, remove bay leaves, empty hot water and run under cold water to make it bearable to touch. IMPORTANT: Do Not Overcook - Drain as much water as possible from the cabbage. Separate cabbage leaves and place on paper towel. Place another paper towel on top. It is imperative you remove as much moisture from the cabbage as possible. This step could be done the night before to ensure the cabbage is as dry as possible. Cabbage holds water and some is going to expel during baking. This is why the meat sauce has to be less thick than it is for normal lasagna.
Once the cabbage is dry it is time to layer the lasagna. In large cast iron Camp Stove, put a thin layer of the meat sauce, then add a layer of cabbage. Layer as follows: ⅓ of meat sauce, ½ of cheese mixture, ⅓ of mozzarella, and cabbage. Next layer is ⅓ of meat sauce, the rest of the cheese mixture, ⅓ of mozzarella, and cabbage. The final layer is the rest of the meat sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, and sprinkle the remainder of the Parmesan cheese over the top. Note: I like fairly thick layers of cabbage at each level.
Bake, covered, in the oven at 375º for 1 hour. After an hour, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. If you want to brown the top more, don’t hesitate to broil on high for about 5 minutes (depending on the effectiveness of your broil setting, times could be more or less).
Let sit for about 15 minutes to set. Like any other lasagna, this one is better reheated the next day
Serve this with a nice Caesar Salad and Bloody Mary‘s or Caesars.