FINLAND: Kaalilaatikko

It’s still cold and wintry here in Ottawa, so a big classic hearty casserole sounds like just the right thing. Kaalilaatikko (literally cabbage casserole) is a mixture of rice, ground beef, and cabbage, sauteed and then done up in the oven, traditionally served with a side of lingonberry jam.

There are a lot of various recipes for this cabbage casserole – I used this recipe from Savory Lotus. However, this recipe seemed to omit most of the traditionally Scandinavian spices that were in other recipes, so I added the spicing from Food.com‘s version – 1/4 tsp each of marjoram, allspice, and nutmeg. Also, I sauteed the ground beef first, removed it from the pan, and sauteed the cabbage in the beef drippings instead of the butter (it’s really good). The casserole crisped up great in the oven and made the house smell amazing – time to pull it out of the oven and try it.

Oh yeah, this is good. The rice sucks up the broth and the juice from the beef, and the spices give it some complexity. The lingonberry jam as a side works well, the sweetness and the tartness balances really nicely with the beef and cabbage. This recipe makes a LOT (and it can be frozen), so this is definitely going into my regular recipe rotation.

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