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Rebelling against a suggestion – a reason to finally make homemade cabbage burgers

January 21, 2012

I’ve been blogging at SCB Citizen for 2 1/2 years now. Each January, WordPress sends me a summary of the past year’s blogging – how many posts (114), number of page views (about 20,000), the top sites referring people to this blog (Facebook, Urbanspoon, WordPress and fellow bloggers Country Chicken Girl and Apt. 11D) and the most prolific commenters (Suella Hanlon, Rick Myers, Kathi Manville, Val Newman and Sue Fehn – thank you!).

The year-end report also gave me the five most-viewed blog posts in 2011. Only one of them, The new Nebraska license plate, was written in 2011. The report commented that my writing “has staying power” and suggested that I write about those pre-2011 topics again.

Three of the top five posts were written in 2010: Tis the sssssseason, Blankety-blank tumbleweeds and Sugar factory tour. I could definitely see more posts about snakes and tumbleweeds in my future. If I visit the sugar factory again, I’d surely write about that.

But the blog topic rounding out my top five for 2011, which was written in 2009, I HAVE NO INTENTION OF WRITING ABOUT AGAIN!!! It’s the same post that made the top five last yearGettin’ my Runza on. Ugh!

Now, I have nothing against Runza. It’s the fast-food joint I visit most often, when I eat fast food. I figure I might as well support a uniquely Nebraskan chain restaurant in this world of increasing global conformity and loss of regional identity. The local Runza restaurants have also been rock stars in terms of corporate sponsorship of local fundraising efforts.

But it’s fast food. Fast food never tastes as good as slow food.

This point was driven home to me last winter, when I tasted a homemade cabbage burger for the first time at the Scottsbluff winter farmers market.

In my personal 1-to-10 continuum of cabbage burger tastiness, with 10 being best, a Runza rates about a 2 and a reheated Gering Bakery cabbage burger rates about a 5 compared to the taste of a real homemade cabbage burger – a 9 for the farmers market version I had.

I was SO looking forward to getting a cabbage burger fix when this season’s winter farmers market started up (every other Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. in the greenhouse at Aulick’s TLC). Alas, the health inspector blocked most vendors from selling that particular treat. Something about preparing meat in an unlicensed kitchen. I understand the reasoning, but BOO! What was I to do now?

Learn to make my own cabbage burgers! And blog about it in hopes of knocking my Runza post out of the top 5 in 2012!

I proceeded thusly:

Step 1: Buy a pound of ground beef, a head of cabbage, some whole-wheat flour and some onions from the farmers market.

Step 2: Dissolve 2 tsp. sugar and a packet of dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, mix in 3/4 cup cooled scalded milk and 1 Tbs melted butter, then mix and knead in 2 cups of flour (half whole wheat, half white). Let rise 30 min. (Note: this proportion left me with more filling than I could fit into the dough. I probably could have doubled the dough recipe and come out about right.)

Step 3: Brown the ground beef, then stir in about a cup of diced onion, three cups of shredded cabbage and a cup of water and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. This step is very close to what my mom calls “schnipfully hamburger” – a term perhaps derived from a German word used in my family generations ago. UPDATE: let the filling cool before making the burgers.

Step 4: Roll out the dough and cut into pieces

Step 5: Add a couple of spoonfuls of filling to a dough square. Last winter, one of my farmers market cabbage burgers was a fusion cabbage burger – it contained jalapeño peppers and was oh-so-tasty. I decided to replicate this with pickled peppers. (Note to self: mince the peppers next time, and use fewer of them.)

Step 6: Pinch opposite corners of the dough together

Step 7: Pinch the seams together, form into a rounded shape and put seam-side-down on a buttered cookie sheet. Top with pepper slice (optional). Let rise 2o min.

Step 8: Bake at 375 for 30 min. Cool on a wire rack.

Step 9: NOMNOMNOM!

As I was working my way thorough the steps, I was thinking to myself, “Gosh, this is a lot of fuss. Why not just slap the filling between a couple of slices of bread?”

I later answered my own question. The aroma and flavor (a 10 on my cabbage burger flavor scale) of the perfectly-crusty bread baked around the meat filling could not be matched by the bread-slice option. Also, it would be a lot messier. The well-made homemade cabbage burger can be easily eaten with one hand. (Aha! Homemade convenience food!)

The size I made those cabbage burgers – starting with dough squares about 6 inches across – was perfect. Each leftover burger just fit into an empty farmers market goat cheese container. (I’ve saved approximately 46 hojillion of those containers to date.)

Here’s hoping my slow-food cabbage burger post beats the page views of that 2009 fast-food post this year!

UPDATE: almost forgot to include a link to the blog at my friend’s dairy, which includes a good explanation of “what’s a krautburger?” (AKA cabbage burger).

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw

18 Comments leave one →
  1. lesleynjim permalink
    January 21, 2012 10:06 am

    Thanks for the tips on cabbage burgers. We have been a little hesitant to try one not knowing where the best ones are. Now we’ll try them at home with your recipe.

  2. January 21, 2012 10:31 am

    I freeze my leftover filling and use later. I was skeptical the first time, but happy with taste when I used it. I have, in a hurry, used store bought frozen bread dough. This weekend we are experimenting with frozen homemade bread dough. We also make a vegetarian filling that my kids love: cubed firm tofu, shredded cheddar cheese, cinnamon, and apples.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      January 21, 2012 5:14 pm

      Ooooo. Good alternative. I was planning to make some for my siblings, but one of my sisters is a vegetarian. I was thinking of veggie crumbles in lieu of hamburger, but maybe the cheese-tofu-apple combo will work better.

      • marcpfister permalink
        January 21, 2012 10:09 pm

        Mushrooms and black olives might be a good ground beef substitute. I keep meaning to try some but I haven’t had a chance.

  3. January 21, 2012 10:51 am

    I’ve been wondering what, precisely, a cabbage burger is since I moved here last June. I kept picturing a hamburger wrapped in cabbage leaves or a hamburger with cabbage instead of lettuce and neither really sounded good enough to try. That filling sounds very similar to the filling my family uses sometimes to make boiled Chinese dumplings (my father lived in China for a few years while he was growing up). And it sounds delicious as well. Now I know what I can do with one of the heads of cabbage currently residing in my fridge! Yum! Easy, make-ahead and freeze meals!

  4. suemommy permalink
    January 21, 2012 2:24 pm

    Yum! Love your step-by-step directions will photos. Makes me hungry for some right now! Thank you, Katie.
    P.S. Schnipfully hamburger makes a good toping for mashed potatoes. Maybe your filling would too.

  5. vnewman permalink
    January 22, 2012 7:54 pm

    Wow, I thought about making those like once but they seemed very involved. When I come back for a visit this year maybe you can show me the ropes.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      January 22, 2012 10:21 pm

      Shore ’nuff! Though on a second try this evening, I had more trouble with the dough. Beginner’s luck?

  6. Laura Leggott permalink
    January 28, 2012 6:03 pm

    Katie, I wish you all the best with topping your old post. It’s a worthy topic. lol!

    As for dough, if you want. I have a great recipe I’d be glad to share if you like. I think you should do this for the next cooking demonstration! ;)

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      January 28, 2012 10:32 pm

      Laura, I think there are much better people to do a cabbage burger demonstration than me! :-)

  7. January 29, 2012 7:29 am

    LOVE your dough scraper! And yes, you should do a cooking demo… It could be titled something like “Even Non-Native Nebraskans Can Make Cabbage Burgers.” hee, hee!

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      January 29, 2012 9:52 am

      Hooboy. I dunno. Talk about pressure to perform! The second time I made cabbage burgers, I had dough troubles. Perhaps I had beginners luck? I would definitely need to get some more practice in before I tried something like this in public! Also, I don’t know if I could handle dough with gloves on . . .

      (I love my “dough scraper,” too. It was actually marketed as a pizza cutter, but I also use it for mincing herbs and it is perfect for cutting straight lines in dough.)

  8. April 30, 2012 7:05 pm

    How many more times have you made them since the first time?

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      April 30, 2012 9:18 pm

      Twice since then – once for myself and Jeff, and once for my dad and siblings.

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