Why It Works
- Cooking the egg noodles directly in the pot with the cabbage, chicken broth, and butter loads them up with flavor.
- With only a few, very inexpensive supermarket ingredients, minimal prep, only one pot to clean, and a quick cooking time, this dish can be on the menu any night of the week.
Cabbage and noodles is a classic Eastern European dish. Poke around and you'll find recipes for Hungarian cabbage and noodles, Polish cabbage and noodles, not to mention Czech, Slovak, and so on, all with very few variations. And it's no wonder—it's a soothing, comforting dish made with inexpensive ingredients, requires very little clean-up, and goes from fridge to table in under half an hour.
Most recipes follow the same basic formula: sauté onions in lots of butter, cook down shredded cabbage, and then fold in cooked noodles. The buttery, soft braised cabbage is the perfect complement to slippery egg noodles. Often, salt and pepper are the only other flavors needed. It's the type of comfort dish that I crave when I want something satisfying and simple.
As solid as it is on its own, adding chicken takes this recipe from a side dish to the main meal. Ground chicken works best here—it finishes cooking alongside the cabbage, soaking up the flavorful liquid while remaining nice and tender. Since cabbage releases quite a bit of liquid as it cooks, it prompted me to wonder if I could simmer the noodles directly in this juice and turn this into a one-pot meal. The answer is yes, but since dry noodles are thirsty, I ended up needing just a bit of extra liquid. One and a half cups of chicken broth does the trick, and takes the chicken flavor up a notch.
If you've got homemade stock hanging around, now's the time to use it—it'll work wonders here. Make sure not to overcook the noodles, since they'll continue to soften as the dish sits. The extra starch released from the noodles ever-so-slightly-thickens the wonderful fresh and brothy sauce.
As for seasoning, a sprinkle of salt and pepper is okay, but I wanted to perk it up a bit with some complementary flavors: a tiny amount of aromatic caraway seeds adds a touch of sweetness, and a handful of chopped parsley balances it out with freshness. With a very modest amount of butter (only three tablespoons), the flavor is clean and fresh, which I like. To richen it up, simply add more butter or stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream. So tasty and satisfying, this easy dish proves that you don't need to turn the flavor dial up to 10 for a meal that shines.
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 pound ground chicken
1 small head cabbage (about 1 pound), quartered, cored, sliced into 1-inch strips
1 1/2 cups low-sodium homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
5 ounces egg noodles
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
4 to 6 tablespoons sour cream, optional (see notes)
Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until onions have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in caraway seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cabbage and cook until wilted to about half its volume, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, another teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to simmer. Nestle in egg noodles, cover, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are cooked but still quite firm, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in parsley, stir in sour cream (if using), season to taste and serve. Broth will thicken slightly upon resting.
When covering with lid, leave slightly askew to allow some steam to escape and to keep mixture from boiling over. I like this dish with clean flavors, but for a creamier and richer, though more muted flavor, stir in the sour cream at the end.
Large skillet with lid
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||25%|
|Saturated Fat 8g||41%|
|Total Carbohydrate 37g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 54mg||270%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|