Don’t stick your nose up at the humble cabbage because braised cabbage, with carrots and onion, deserves high praise. The long, low heat cooking draws out the sweetness of the cabbage, carrots and onions while making it deliciously soft. Taking the foil off at the end and upping the heat produces nicely browned edges. It truly is delicious. We have made this recipe for years and like it so much we will often eat most of a pan ourselves!
This is a wonderful example of how a cooking method can produce superior results. And might I add that these ingredients are frugal as well as nourishing?
This is the recipe I have chosen to showcase from the cookbook, All about Braising by Molly Stevens. This book has some of the most wonderful sounding, slow cookin’ goodness recipes. From vegetable to beef, to chicken, to fish, this book has a wide variety of dishes. Most of the recipes are quite easy to put together they just need oven time. Slow cooked meals are perfect for this time of year. She also has very easy to follow directions, which is always greatly appreciatied.
(Speaking of this time of year, don’t forget about the Nourishing Holiday Food Carnival coming up this Tuesday!)
My notes to this recipe: Definitely follow the directions for the size of cabbage to use. If you use too big of one, it will not cook correctly. I also like to add several extra carrots, just because they are so delicious.
World’s Best Braised Cabbage, by Molly Stevens
1 Medium head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
1 large yellow onion (about 8 ounces)
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1/4 cup chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, or water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black peper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
1-Heat the oven to 325. Lightly oil a large gratin dish or a baking dish (9 by 13 inch works well).
2-Trimming the cabbage: Peel off and discard any bruised or ragged outer leaves from the cabbage. The cabbage should weigh close to 2 pounds (if you don’t have a kitchen scale, consult the grocery store receipt). If the cabbage weighs more than 2 pounds, it won’t fit in the baking dish and won’t braise as beautifully. To remedy this, cut away a wedge of the cabbage to trim it down to size. Save the leftover wedge for salad or coleslaw. Then cut teh cabbage into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges in teh baking dish, they may overlap some, but do your best to make a single layer.
3-The Braise:Scatter in the onion and carrot. Drizzle over the oil and stock or water. Season with salt, pepper, and the pepper flakes. Cover tightly with foil, and slide into the middle of the oven to braise until the vegetables are completely tender, about 2 hours. Turn the cabbage wedges with tongs after an hour. Don’t worry if the wedges want to fall apart as you turn them: just do your best to keep them intact. If the dish is drying out at all, add a few tablespoons of water.
4-The finish: Once the cabbage is completely tender, remove the foil, increase the oven heat to 400, and roast until the vegetables begin to brown, another 15 minutes or so. SErve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with fleur de sel or other coarse salt.
Variation: Braised gren cabbage with Balsamic vinegar
I sometimes add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the cabbage to enhance it’s sweetness. In step 4, after you remove the foil, sprinkle on 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic and turn the cabbage with tongs to distribute the vinegar, then roast for another 15 minutes, uncovered as directed.