Esta's Kitchen: Slumbrew Cabbage Casserole

Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.
Don Parkinson - Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.

I have a confession to make. I’ve become a beer snob. (Hangs head in shame.)

It was bound to happen. I mean, I cook with it all the time,  I recommend it to people all the time, I bathe in it...wait...sorry, wrong column. Never mind.

I’ve suspected for a while now that I was headed down this dark path. But then the other day I got my hands on the magazine Beer Advocate. I read that thing from cover to cover and by the end of it, had a list of 10 new beers to try.

After that, I knew: beer snobbery is here to stay.

In the end, I’m okay with this. I’m already a snob about laundry detergent, quality gin and sewing scissors, so why not beer? My mother, The Jackanator, is a snob about towels and sheets, so really, snobbery runs in our family. It’s not my fault.

One of my new loves is Somerville Brewing Company, which makes what they call Slumbrew. One of these Slumbrews, “Happy Sol,” found its way onto my “Beers I Must Cook With But Really Just Want to Drink” List.

I did a search and found that Happy Sol is sold locally (Cotuit Liquors and Teaticket Market specifically) so I went to buy some.

Side note: When you walk into a liquor store with a 1 year-old on your hip people judge you immediately. Which is totally unfair because IT’S MY JOB PEOPLE! I GET PAID TO BUY ALCOHOL!

Side note #2- Don’t worry, guys, I was just babysitting. I’m still single and ready to mingle. Provided you have at least 300 thread count sheets and don’t wash your clothes with store-brand detergent.

Happy go lucky

Happy Sol is brewed with blood oranges and coriander. When you first take a sip you get the typical “beer” flavor, but then the citrus comes through with metallic tang, finishing with a strong coriander taste.

Happy Sol Slumbrew Cabbage Casserole

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 cups beer, roughly (Happy Sol Slumbrew)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups (roughly) preferred hamburger mixture
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to sauté

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core the cabbage and slice into ½-inch slices or smaller. In a large frying pan, sauté in olive oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Add a cup of beer so that cabbage is just covered. Cover the frying pan and turn down to low heat. Sauté for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more beer until the cabbage is cooked to your texture preference.

Place cabbage in 13x9-inch pan and cover with the hamburger mixture. Top with cheese. Bake uncovered until cheese is browned and the casserole is bubbling.

With all that flavor bursting in my mouth at once, I decided it was the perfect beer to sauté cabbage with. Maybe it was the spirit of St. Patrick that moved me.

I happen to love cabbage. This is a relatively new revelation as The Jackanator used to torture me with it as a child. She used to make this dish called “New England Boiled Dinner” which consisted of egg noodles and cabbage boiled into a thick soup that tasted like paint. Mushy paint.

It was the only thing we didn’t have to eat because my father, Dr. B, also hated it. It was a little hard to enforce the “you eat what we make” rule when Dr. B was making gagging noises when he saw what was for dinner.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized cabbage can actually be a lovely thing, especially when sautéed with spices and a little broth. As I suspected, the cabbage paired perfectly with Happy Sol, giving it a spicy, light citrus taste.

You could totally just sauté the cabbage and use that for a side dish. But I decided it would be perfect as the base of a casserole.

For this dish, I used some leftover Sloppy Joes that I had on hand, which worked perfectly. If you don’t have Sloppy Joes or something comparable on hand, just fry up some hamburger with tomato sauce and/or some spices and call it a day. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Most of the flavor from this dish comes from the beer and the cabbage being cooked together.


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  • jbucka

    You've confused New England Boiled Dinner (corned beef roast, cabbage, onions, and potatoes) with Galuska (cooked loose sausage, cabbage, and fine egg noodles). Your father doesn't like either one, but they are both delicious.
  • e.m. szuplat

    Esta, Esta, Esta. Good thing you are now in New England (I won't go so far as to say a New Englander ;) ! As jbucka said, New England boiled dinner does not have egg noodles- it has potatoes! The Happy Sol sounds yummy, blood oranges! :)