Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"World's Best Braised Green Cabbage"


I've been happily cooking from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Molly Stevens All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking.
Master and Madam Chow have not been disappointed.
This is a true teaching cookbook, and one that is easily accessible to novices in the kitchen. Stevens provides a detailed description of the finished dish, then step-by-step instructions on how to prepare it. I should clarify: instructions that actually make sense. These recipes clearly have been tested again and again. They work, and they taste wonderful. Stevens also provides wine pairings, and often gives practice pointers, such as how to select parsnips, or spare ribs.
I had a head of green cabbage in the refrigerator that I wanted to use up. Again, part of my effort to include a greater variety of veggies in our diet. But I had been waiting to use it because I wanted to try something different. Something exciting (well, as exciting as cabbage can be). And I found it in Molly Steven's book.
The expansive title is hers, not mine. This cabbage dish is wonderful - it mellows and becomes sweet, especially with the optional addition of balsamic vinegar. Next time, I will quadruple the amount of carrots called for in the recipe. The cabbage was great, but the carrots were incredible. Master Chow loves his vegetables, but even I was impressed as he kept saying "this is delicious" with his mouth full of cabbage. Yes, folks, cabbage.
Now, go eat your veggies!
"World's Best Braised Green Cabbage"
from All About Braising, by Molly Stevens
(Instructions paraphrased for brevity)
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, about two pounds
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced, about 8 oz.
  • 1 large carrot, sliced in quarter-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water (I used vegetable stock)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil a large baking dish or gratin dish (9 by 13 inch works).

The cabbage should weigh close to two pounds - if it's much bigger than this, set some of it aside for another use, or the dish will not braise properly. Trim off damaged outer leaves, core, and slice cabbage into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges in a single layer, although a small bit of overlap is fine.

Scatter in the onions and the carrot. Drizzle over the oil, and the stock (or water). Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cover tightly with foil and slide into the middle of the oven until the vegetables are very tender, about two hours. After an hour, gently turn the cabbage wedges using tongs. Try to keep the wedges together, but don't worry if they start to come apart. If the braise looks like it is drying out, add a few tablespoons of water.

Once the cabbage is completely tender, remove from the oven and then remove the foil (carefully, a lot of steam will escape). Increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Sprinkle on the balsamic vinegar, and turn the cabbage with tongs to distribute the vinegar. Return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes until the vegetables begin to brown. Serve sprinkled with coarse salt or fleur de sel.

3 Comments:

Anonymous rowena said...

When I read down the ingredient list I couldn't believe that was all there is to this dish, but then I took note again of the title of the book. Aha! Simplicity is key!!

March 07, 2007 2:27 AM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

That's exactly how I reacted. I was dubious, but restrained myself and actually followed the directions without tweaking the recipe - that rarely happens! We were really pleased at the results, and the dish is on the repeat list.

March 07, 2007 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was delicious !!!

I added 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and I had to substitute a combo of smoked paprika and Tony Chachere's creole seasoning instead of the red pepper because I had no red pepper flakes.

Turned out great it's a definite keeper. Thank You!

November 15, 2009 4:31 PM  

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