Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Zero Cabbage

tomato-braised cabbage

Don't worry about that bread in the picture. Tonight we're talking about cabbage.

This is a really easy way to add a vegetable with a complex, acidic flavor to your meal. The basic idea is to braise some cabbage with various tasty liquids. I call this dish Zero Cabbage. I used to call it Ultimate Cabbage, because I just made this shit up and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then tomato puree got added to the mix, and it was an entirely new, decidedly better dish. My humble name didn't leave a lot of room for improvement, so I went with the strategy they used when they discovered a new, more important Law of Thermodynamics: call it number zero, because zero comes before number one. Thus Zero Cabbage, a preparation of braised cabbage with various sauces and tomato puree, was born.

As an added bonus, this is one of the few dishes Sarah will stuff into her craw that doesn't involve any onion, garlic, or olive oil. Imagine that.

To make the pictured cabbage, you will need:
- About half a head of cabbage, roughly chopped (this makes enough for 2-4 people)
- Vinegar. Any kind will probably do, I've used balsamic and white on different occasions, both to good effect.
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Mustard. Honey mustard is best, but as long as you've got a reasonable mustard (i.e. not just French's) you should be fine.
- Tomato puree of some sort.

The beauty if this recipe is that you can use anything that happens to intrigue you as you rifle through your kitchen. At various points, I've thrown in red wine, teriyaki sauce, chicken stock, and citrus, in addition to or in place of the above ingredients. Go buck wild. Think of the cabbage as your canvas as you fling a hideous modern art masterpiece of flavor onto it.

Executing this dish is simple:

1. Chop the cabbage. It doesn't need to be even, pretty, or even all that small. Don't kill yourself.

2. Put 2-3 tablespoons of each other ingredient in the bottom of a medium-sized pot. I just made that measurement up, you really just want to eyeball it. Put the cabbage on top. If you feel like adding some more ingredients at this point, just pour them in on top of the cabbage. No need to be precise, just use what seems like an appropriate amount of liquid for the cabbage.

3. Cover the pot and place it over medium-low heat. Let it do its thing for half an hour or so, occasionally checking on the cabbage to make sure it's not getting too hot or dry. If it is, just lower the heat or add a splash of water.

4. Remove the pot from heat and keep covered until you are ready to serve.


1 comment:

  1. I made cabbage last night-- but I DID use garlic so take that! I had made some sausage so I cooked it with minced garlic in the grease, and then added some balsamic to give it a nice glaze and let it braise. Pretty good if I say so myself.