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Cabbage Makes Interesting Meals - Cherokee Cabbage from Oconaluftee Village

Updated on February 29, 2012

Cherokee Cabbage

This is a traditional cabbage dish made among the S-Que-Wi people of North Carolina. It is simple in its ingredients and methods and is quite good.


  • 1 head of cabbage, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Tbsp of bacon drippings
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • In a Dutch oven on the stove top, melt the bacon drippings and add in the cut up cabbage.
  • Cook until the cabbage browns slightly and begins to wilt.
  • Add in the green pepper strips and stir fry until the bright green color leaves.
  • Put the lid on the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to low and let the cabbage continue to wilt for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage seems well glazed and slightly spotted with brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, toss, and serve.

North Carolina Cooking

Cherokee, North Carolina, was where I purchased by first real bow and arrows during my last summer in middle school. I saw few Native Americans on my visit, but my bow had been made by the Cherokee Nation and I treasured it.

Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee still lives in North Carolina and maintains the OconalufteeIndianVillage on the Cherokee Reservation in the SmokyMountains. Others were moved to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The village draws many visitors each year by maintaining a cultural installation that presents life among the Cherokee in the 1750s before the American Revolution. Some dwellings are made of woven cane and clay, while others are log cabins. Cherokee Botanical Gardens is nearby.

The village is both fascinating and relaxing. Visitors can among the people in this authentic working Village and look at the period housing, speak with residents, observe talented and artisans at their work, and take a self-guided tour. They will also see what goes into traditional Cherokee medicine and watch resident fashion canoes, pottery, beadwork, baskets, and traditional masks. Other daily village activities are just as interesting and memorable. Villages stage reenactments, provide demonstrations, and offer a Cherokee storyteller each evening. An outdoor drama presented is Time of War, depicting the years circa 1750 – 1794.

As one walks through the village, one sees ears of corn hanging over open fires and green beans drying in the sun in preparation for use in the traditional dish called “Leather Britches Beans.” Corn is made into hominy or into cornmeal or corn flour. Native berries and barks are used to dye fabrics. Men make a variety of tools and weapons, including blowguns and arrows.

The center of all this activity is the heptagonal council house, where the medicine man demonstrates traditional ways.

Hot Sweet & Sour Kraut and Cabbage

Serves 4-6


  • 1/4 head cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 Cups sauerkraut
  • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard
  • 2 Cups Mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • ¼ Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp each salt and pepper, or to taste


  • Place sliced cabbage of both sorts into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a pot on the stove top over medium heat, place sauerkraut, mayonnaise, sugar, celery seed, salt, and pepper; stir and heat through for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the dressing mixture over the cabbages and toss well to mix.
  • Taste and re-season, if needed and serve hot.


Baked Cabbage with Cream

Serves 6


  • 4 Cups coarsely shredded cabbage
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ Cup cream or whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Tbsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to the cabbage and toss to mix well.
  • Butter or cooking spray a casserole dish and fill it with the cabbage mixture.
  • Bake the casserole about 40 minutes or until done, denoted by a thick, bubbly and creamy texture that has set up just slightly. Do not over bake.
  • Remove from oven and serve hot.

South Dakota Cabbage, Rice, and Beef

Serves 6


  • 1 Pound ground beef or chuck
  • 1 Large onion, chopped medium
  • 6 Large red tomatoes, peeled and seeded, sliced to ¼” thick
  • 1/3 Large cabbage, cored and cut to 6 wedges
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp each of rosemary and thyme
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter or bacon drippings
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ Cup uncooked long grain rice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, place tomatoes, sugar, rosemary and thyme.
  • Cook 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes are reduced to almost a sauce-like consistency.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat, brown meat and onions in the butter or bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper, turn heat o low and let simmer.
  • Add tomatoes and uncooked rice, stir, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
  • Butter or cooking spray a casserole dish and arrange cabbage slices around the bottom.
  • Pour the contents of the skillet evenly over the cabbage and bake the casserole for 90 minutes or until cabbage is tender and rice is cooked.
  • Remove from oven and serve hot.

Pecan Cabbage

Serves 8


  • 4 Cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 Cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, place cabbage, carrot, onions, and water..
  • Cook covered, over medium heat 5 - 7 minutes and drain.
  • Add butter, mustard, and pecans and toss well.
  • Serve hot


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