Cabbage and leek gratin with mustard cream

May 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Deborah Madison, Winter recipes) ()


This is another recipe my sister decided to try while she was here last week, this time from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. Madison describes it as a “homey gratin”. You boil the cabbage and leeks, and then mix them with flour, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt, and finely chopped parley and/or dill.

I like that this recipe calls for lots of cabbage and leeks, but I was a bit disappointed. I found the dish soft, even soggy. (Perhaps the veggies weren’t drained well enough?) It was also definitely undersalted, but maybe my sister didn’t put the full amount of salt in?

The gratin didn’t really taste like a gratin to me, maybe because of the lack of cheese? I think if I make it again I will add another egg, and a bit of cheese (which is listed as a variation at the end of the recipe). Hanaleah thought some mashed tofu might be a nice addition.

Both Hanaleah and I liked the mustard cream recipe a lot, and the amount was perfect to pair with the gratin. Here’s the recipe as I made it:

  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (I didn’t have any so used apple cider vinegar)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or whole-milk yogurt (I used mostly yogurt, but a little bit of the sour cream leftover from the main recipe)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons prepared mustard (I used a tarragon dijon mustard)

Update April 2021:

I had some savoy cabbage and leeks and various herbs in the fridge, and decided to try this recipe again. This time I made sure to drain the vegetables really well. I didn’t measure but I think cups of liquid came out! And I followed my advice from last time and added a bit of feta, but I forgot to add an extra egg. I also salted it better.

The gratin came out less wet than last time, but there’s still something essentially wet about the dish. The very edges were nice and crisp, but for the rest of the dish you couldn’t really escape the fact that you were eating boiled cabbage and leeks. I wasn’t as excited about the mustard cream this time, and Derek didn’t like the sauce at all. Not sure why. But I enjoyed the dish well enough. Alma wouldn’t touch it and Derek wasn’t really a fan, so I polished off the whole pan of it myself over a couple of days. It made a satisfying lunch. Still, I wish I could get more of those crisp edges. I wonder if it would work better to cook it in a 9×13 pan so it comes out much thinner with more crust? Or maybe even one of those “brownie all crust” pans, if I had one.

Overall I think I’d give this recipe 2.5 stars, somewhere between okay and like a lot. Derek said 1 star (edible).

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