Whoa ! Summertime ! Our heat broke after some thunderstorms passed through ! Hurray! The crickets and katydids are starting to chirp throughout the days and the scree of the locust has been competing in the afternoons. Fall is on the way. That said, the gardens are really beginning to give up their harvest at a quickening pace! Summer's not over yet, but this Hokumpoke Haluski heralds the cooler days of autumn.
Hokumpoke Farm had small heads of cabbage in the CSA bag last week, so it got used in this nod to Polish food culture ... ever had Haluski with Ham ? It's such a simple, yet rich and peppery comfort food ! You MUST try it!
Haluski recipes vary across the world, but this one reminded me of diner food in the Midwest. It's got tons of wilted cabbage, chunks of ham steak, sweet Vidalia onion, minced garlic, and PLENTY of white and black pepper. As a final little tweek, there is a generous sprinkling of caraway seed. The fats in this dish are butter and olive oil, but they get added a little a time, as the ingredients are added to a big deep fry pan. In slowly building the butter/oil you can use only what you need to keep things from sticking to the pan. The onion and cabbage give up plenty of sweet juices, so they also help to keep things moist.
Here's how I did it.
Haluski with Ham
Serves 4 for Main dish or 6-8 for side dish
4 tbsp. butter, divided in half
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet white onion
1 small head green cabbage, sliced into wide ribbons and roughly chopped across the ribbons (to make 6 -8 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 round ham steaks, rind removed and cut into 1 inch chunks ( about 3/4 lb. prepped ham chunks)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. caraway seed
8 oz. dry egg noodles, boiled to al dente
Notes: Be careful not to over salt, as the ham has salt in it. You may want a bit more butter on the noodles when you add them to the pan, but wait and see.
Making the Dish:
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
2. In a large deep frypan, fry the onions and ham in 2 tbsp. of the butter over medium-high heat until the edges of the ham begin to brown and the onion is wilted and soft.
3. Cook the noodles in the boiling water.
4. While the noodles are cooking, add the garlic to the onion/ham mix and cook for a couple minutes. Then, add the chopped cabbage ribbons, the salt, white and black pepper, and the olive oil measure. Toss to coat the cabbage with the butter/oil/juices.
5. Let the cabbage cook down and then lower the heat and add the caraway seed.
6. Drain the noodles and add them to the cabbage mixture when the cabbage is sufficiently wilted. The cabbage should still have a bit of bite to it, as it will continue to wilt when the hot noodles are mixed in.
7. When you add the noodles, turn in the second 2 tbsp. of butter and toss everything together to distribute the noodles, cabbage, and ham chunks evenly. Taste to correct the seasonings and amount of butter.
8. You can turn the heat off under the pan at this point and cover it loosely while you finish prepping any other dish you're serving. Just re-heat to piping hot before serving.