Wednesday, February 16, 2011

a season of cabbage

I didn't use to like cabbage. But once upon a time, I came across a recipe that makes a thrifty dinner using bacon, onion, rice and cabbage and during my single days, when I was feeling poor in the winter, I would make it. The recipe made lots and was surprisingly good. So once in a while, during the long winter, when other root vegetables had lost their appeal and I'd spy lots of cabbages waiting to be chosen in the vegetable aisle, I would dig the recipe out of my memory and make it. Then last year I read Molly's "A Homemade Life" and her lovely cream braised cabbage recipe. I made it and we love the flavour but owing to clutziness on my part, I found the cabbage triangles hard to deal with. So I tried finely slicing the cabbage which worked well for us. I found it easier to handle in the pan and we liked the texture beter. Plus it cooks faster which is a bonus on nights when the time between arriving home and a starving family descending on the kitchen looking for supper is tight. Combining the recipes didn't occur to me until I had some sausage meat, a red cabbage and about 30 minutes to make supper in. Which didn't give me enough time to make a favorite braised red cabbage dish so I made up this recipe instead. And it is a hit in our house. So this winter we've been eating lots of cabbage. The braising in cream renders the cabbage melty soft and flavourful with none of the side effects normally associated with cabbage. And it works with both green and red cabbage (although red cabbage does turn sausage meat a bit of a bizarre colour).

Cream Braised Cabbage with Sausage
mummydinosaur original

1/2 lb (~ 250 g) of sausage meat (or diced pancetta or sliced bacon)
1 small or medium head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c cream

In a saute pan, over medium high heat, brown the sausage (or bacon). Once brown, add the thinly sliced onion and cabbage and toss well in the pan to coat with the oil from the sausage. Saute until the cabbage starts to brown in places (5-10 minutes). If you are using pancetta, add it about halfway through this step. Add the cream and stir. Cover the pot and simmer over a medium low heat for 15-30 minutes or until the cabbage is soft. If there is a lot of liquid, remove the lid and cook down for a few minutes. Serve with baked potato wedges.

green cabbage with bacon 

red cabbage with sausage and baked potato wedges

For a vegetarian version of this, leave out the sausage or bacon and saute the onion and cabbage in 1 tbsp of butter.

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