Cheddar Cheese Cabbage with Sausage is an, um, experimental weeknight meal loosely inspired by a Cabbage-Cheese Chowder, a mid-70s recipe from a previous post. The original Cabbage-Cheese Chowder recipe is a budget supper made from condensed cheddar cheese soup, cabbage, and diced baloney. I made it on a lark, wondering why anyone would think to combine these ingredients much less submit it to a community cookbook. I would think that peer pressure alone would lead to better judgment. I was, instead, pleasantly surprised. Not because this is some hidden culinary masterpiece, but because, improbably, the cheddar cheese soup and cabbage pair pretty well together. The weak link is the baloney. And not the bologna that’s having its culinary moment with smoked bologna logs and all that. Just plain old multi-meat rounds like Oscar Mayer had his way with. It adds a satisfying saltiness, but it’s also flaccid and unappetizing. Even if you crisp it up beforehand it gets soggy in the soup, and no one in their right mind wants to eat that.
So I messed around with it to make it better. And not in some sort of narcissistic Instagram way. Sure, I could have cobbled together a homemade cheese sauce with a mix of Gruyere and sharp cheddar and then showed off my designer dishwasher or whatever. But the whole point of a recipe like Cabbage-Cheese Chowder is that it’s cheap and easy. Gourmetifying it isn’t going to necessarily make it any better, just a waste of money and time.
I took a different approach: keep the canned cheddar soup and the otherworldy orange color, but use it for a sauce to spoon over hot dogs or sausages. It maintains the spirit of the original recipe, right down to the highly processed meat products. I’ve cut the milk with sour cream to get the consistency right, and substituted whole grain mustard to give it some texture. A splash of vinegar and a dash of cayenne round out the acid and the heat. The end result has kind of a sauerkraut and cheese vibe, similar to what you might see topping a Reuben but with an unnatural orange glow to it. Enjoy!
For the sauce:
- 1 10 oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 1/2 10 oz can milk
- 2 Tbsp dairy sour cream
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4-5 cups sliced cabbage
If serving as a side dish:
- 6 good quality bratwursts (cooked as per package or butcher's directions)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz egg noodles (cooked as per package directions)
If serving as a topping:
- Mix all ingredients except cabbage and pepper a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until well combined and heated through.
- Stir in the cabbage and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes until mixture resembles a cheesy cole slaw. Cabbage should still be crisp tender.
- To serve as a side dish, spoon sauce over egg noodles with cooked bratwurst on the side.
- To serve as a sausage topping, spoon sauce over sausage in a bun. Garnish with tomatoes, peppers, and/or caramelized onions.
If serving as a side dish, cook bratwurst as per package directions. Serve the Cheddar Cheese Cabbage on the side or over egg noodles.
If serving as a hot dog topping, cook hot dogs as per package directions. Toast buns if desired. Top first with Cheddar Cheese Cabbage, then tomatoes and sliced peppers as desired.