10.1.14 Cabbage Dispatch
photos by gluttonforlife
We grew a cabbage this year. It may not sound that impressive, but it is. For years, our attempts at growing cabbages were foiled by one thing or another. Worms. Heat. Destiny. But this year one perfect dusky purple specimen prevailed. We haven't picked it yet. It sits there in its corner next to the collards as silent and perfect as the Buddha. Eating it will feel like a sacrificial act, so it must be prepared with reverence. This roasted version of a classic German dish is one possibility. Its sweet-sour balance is lovely. Stuffed cabbage also comes to mind at this time of year. Fall is in the air, my friends. A squirrel with the energy and determination of a Jack Russel terrier has been running back and forth across the yard all day, ferrying pine cones to his hiding spot. Good thing our cabbage is too big for him.
I like that this recipe calls for slow-roasting the cabbage, as this draws out a lot of the moisture and intensifies its flavor. Don't slice it too thinly or it will get a little droopy. All that purple shrieks antioxidants. (Did I ever tell you about the time I decided to serve G and me a glass of straight cabbage juice as a detoxifying tonic? Vomiting ensued almost instantly. Useful information.)
all mixed up
The shredded cabbage gets mixed with sliced apples and onions, caraway seeds, raisins, red wine vinegar, orange zest, dark brown sugar and butter. Not too much of any of it, just enough to create a tangle of aromatic flavors that infuse the finished dish.
sweet and sour
This goes beautifully with pork, of course, but a heaping bowl of it on its own is a treat for lunch. It's good cold as a kind of relish, and wouldn't be out of place on a cheese plate. If you have a better idea for how I can use my prized cabbage, do let me know.
Sweet & Sour Cabbage
— 1 large red cabbage, about a pound
— 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
— 1/3 cup raisins (golden or brown)
— 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
— 2 tablespoons dark muscovado
— 1/2 pound apples, peeled, cored and sliced
— 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in small pieces
— 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
— 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
— 1 teaspoon sea salt
— 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
— Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
Mix all the ingredients together and pile into a baking dish or ovenproof casserole.
Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours, removing the foil for the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to let the cabbage and apples caramelize. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days.