Now that the weather is getting cooler, I noticed that I’ve started craving for hearty stews and casseroles. Today I chose to prepare a real classic that every Finn knows – the traditional Finnish cabbage casserole. The base of the recipe is my grandmother’s and I’ve altered it slightly to make it even tastier (the ingredients are the same, just some of the cooking methods are slightly different from the original recipe). The ingredients of this dish are simple and easy to prepare and the active preparation time is rather short.
Casseroles (and other oven dishes) have been popular in the traditional Finnish cuisine as they are easy to leave in the oven while working. Most of these dishes are also based on root vegetables or vegetables that can be cultivated in the North and store well throughout the winter. This traditional Finnish cabbage casserole recipe uses white cabbage as the base of the dish. The porridge rice used in this recipe is a short-grained rice variety. If you cannot find the exact match, you can use sushi rice instead.
As I was photographing the casserole for this post, I realized that many traditional Finnish dishes aren’t too fancy-looking. It might be that the Finnish cooking has traditionally been more about nutrition and flavor than visual aspects. Thankfully, what this comfort food might lack in looks, it has in flavor.
Traditionally, lingonberry jam is served alongside cabbage casserole. The sweet and bitter tones of the jam complement the mild and round flavors of the casserole.
making your own Lingonberry jam
You can make your own jam by boiling lingonberries with white sugar in a pot. A good basic recipe is 2/3 lingonberries and 1/3 sugar.
Boil the mixture for about 10 minutes on medium heat until the hard covers of the berries break. You can use cranberries instead of lingonberries if you cannot find them in your area.