Winter was almost ignoring us here in south central Pennsylvantia: not too frigid and hardly any snow, and heck, I even wore shorts last week. Well, indoors, at least. Then that stupid groundhog saw his shadow on February 2, signalling six more weeks of winter. And then, someone must have passed the message along to Winter, because it started paying attention again. Now everything’s completely white, and it got cold. I hate groundhogs and I hate cold weather and snow, but hey, at least the food’s good. Perfect for a cold winter’s day, Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet is hearty and filling, but still budget friendly. Oh, and delicious.
To be honest, the first time I cooked this combination of ingredients, I was being kind of selfish: I love cooked cabbage, and I thought I was kind of alone in that. At least, I knew my husband hated cabbage rolls, and although this has no rice or tomato, and is almost completely unlike cabbage rolls in any way, aside from the cabbage and meat, I still felt as if I was throwing caution to the wind. I was amazed. My husband kept saying how much he liked it, so he could be sure I’ make it again. Talk about win-win. And cheap-cheap, too. Cabbage was recently as low as 49 cents per pound at my favorite store, and even when it’s not “on sale” it’s still one of the best deals in the produce department. Learn to love cabbage and your budget will love you.
Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion
- an approximately 2 pound head of green cabbage
- 2 large carrots
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 bay leaves
Choose a large, heavy skillet or pot with a lid with a capacity of at least 6 quarts. I used my 8 quart stock pot, which gave me plenty of stirring about room. Set it over medium heat, and add the ground beef.
Peel and coarsely chop the onion, and add it to the meat, stirring it up a bit with a sturdy spoon. Stir the meat and onions occasionally while you prepare the cabbage and carrots.
Using a large chef’s knife, cut the head of cabbage in half from the top, through the core, then cut each half again, so you have 4 pieces approximately equal in size. Carefully slice away the core and discard. (If you don’t get all of it, don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe to eat – it’s just a bit tough sometimes.) Roughly chop the cabbage – neatness doesn’t count, cleanliness does, so keep it off the floor. I usually cut the cabbage into approximately one-inch chunks, which works pretty well.
If you have a box grater or other tool for shredding foods, use that for the carrots. Otherwise, just use the chef’s knife and finely chop them. Sometimes, I leave them out if I’m in a huge hurry, or just don’t have carrots.
Once the meat is browned, stir in the salt, pepper, and bay leaves (these are NOT optional – their flavor is essential to the results), then add the carrots and cabbage. Stir to mix well. Cover and turn heat to low. Cook until
cabbage and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You shouldn’t need to add any liquid – the juices that cook out of the meat and vegetables should be sufficient, but if it seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water. ) Remove bay leaves and discard.
Makes 4 generous servings.
Serve Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet with mashed potatoes or some crusty rolls and butter for a simple, comforting meal.
Bobbie Laughman is an elder caregiver, writer and Generally Shy Person, Except On The Internet. She lives and breathes and tries to keep warm and sane in Gettysburg, PA. If you’ve a mind to, contact her at Bobbie@Home-Ec101.com