cream braised cabbage with leeks

cream-braised cabbage with leeks

I know it’s a little strange that I’m that I am telling you about another cabbage recipe so soon after the first one, but I can’t help myself. It’s too good to keep from you a moment longer. Doing so would be selfish and wrong. And I’m anything but selfish. Besides in Russia households typically always have a head of cabbage on hand. I know in my family it’s always been the case.

Moreover, I wish I could tell you that I’m one of those people who cooks a new thing every night, who is constantly craving variety, and is always out trying new things. I don’t. Sometimes I go for weeks without so much as turning on the stove. Embarrassing, but true. So if I find a dish that truly strikes a chord with me – well, I will make it over and over and over. Like this one for instance.

big pile of cabbage - YUM cream-braised cabbage with leeks

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m very open to trying a new dish or a new flavor combination, but I am quite often finding myself ordering the same few things off my regular take-out menus. I could also very well make something and then eat it for several days and sometimes even longer. I’m a creature of habit to a fault. I like schedules and planning. Leftovers are just another way for me to continue eating what I like. Besides so many different things taste that much better the following days when the flavors have a chance to meld together: chili, soup, stew, and believe it or not – this cabbage. That is if it lasts that long in your household.

cream-braised cabbage with leeks

So this cabbage I want to tell you about. Well, I’ve recently fallen in love with braising vegetables in cream. You take something somewhat pedestrian, like cabbage for instance, and you add in some chopped leeks and then you sauté the whole thing for awhile until the leeks start turning yellow-green, closer to yellow; and the cabbage has wilted and began to look a little sad. This is where you swoop in and add some lemon juice, salt and finally cream and thus transform it from sadness into glory, like Cinderella going to a fancy ball. You let it thicken for a few minutes and then scoop it generously onto a plate. And then, as a pièce de résistance, you grate a tiny bit of Grana Padano over it (I know cheese sounds superfluous, but trust me on this one). Just try to have one serving of this and not eat the whole thing. You can consider it an open challenge.

cream-braised cabbage with leeks

Cream-Braised Cabbage with Leeks

This is also where I apologize to you for the ugly pictures you have here before you. Cabbage, sadly, doesn’t lend itself to a pretty photograph. I tried. I failed. But the taste will more than make up for its humble looks. I promise you!

Glug of canola oil
½ head cabbage, chopped
2 leeks
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt
1/3 to ½ cup cream (make sure it’s coated so it can braise, but not too soupy)


In a skillet, over medium heat (non stick works well in this case) heat up some oil and when the oil is hot, but not sizzling, add leeks and cabbage.

Stir and let the leeks and cabbage wilt and acquire a less vibrant color – you want them to soften. Add the salt and them the lemon juice and stir in cream. Reduce heat to low and let the cabbage and leeks braise for about five minutes.

Remove from heat and serve immediately. Grate a bit of Grana Padano cheese for an extra bite before eating.

Serves 2


  • Carol

    Olga, I just ate the hugest, most delicious breakfast, and am now hungry again after reading this. Totally making it this weekend.

  • radish

    Jessika – thank you! I think half and half will work fine – might be a little less creamy and you might need a bit more time for it to thicken. I had extra cream in the fridge and didn’t want it going bad. If all i had was half-and-half I would have use that instead!
    Carol – sorry to thwart your breakfast :-) Let me know if you like the dish.

  • Kat

    Just made this and really liked it, a nice change from my usual cabbage recipes. But how long do you saute the cabbage? Mine just didn’t want to cook down, so I ended up with it still quite crunchy, even after a good 20 minutes or more. Next time I’ll make it when I’m not in a hurry to eat lunch.

  • radish

    Kat, i like to have a bit of “bite” to my cabbage, so I think 20 minutes should have done it. Depends on how much heat you used, type of pan, how much cabbage, etc. I’d experiment with all that.

  • Anticiplate

    I love that you read the economist. Molly Stevens has a great recipe for braised cabbage that is supposed to be phenomenal. Maybe I can actually get my husband to like it:)

  • Iliana

    Tnx for the recipe
    I didn’t use the heavy cream is it had way to many calories… just the cabbage and the leeks with some olive oil and a bit of water and lemon / salt at the end … It came really good … reminds me a bit of my grandma pickled cabbage that I love
    Next one to try – the spicy cabbage …

  • gerri

    This sounds delish. I have all the ingredients right now except for the cream so……….i am going to use some buttermilk and see what happens. I love cooking with buttermilk its so distinctive tasting.

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