Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Great Recipe for those who never know what to do with Cabbage!

Sorry there aren't photos, but it was gone too fast. Maybe next time. :)

Those who know my cooking style know I'm terribly picky with recipes. I never use a recipe as-is. I tweak and alter until it may or may not even resemble the original. This is no exception.

This is styled after an Ethiopian cabbage recipe, though I've changed it some. This will give a family of 5 a full meal of veggies. It needs no meat really.

It is also timely in that most of these things are available as spring winds down and we harvest our cabbages and carrots, pull out early onions to thin the ranks and harvest those early potatoes. And even if you're still shopping the markets, these are all in season and create a very frugal, yet hearty, meal.

The main ingredients:

-1 head of cabbage, medium, shredded (just cut on the bias)
-About 1/2 lb of carrots, sliced nice and thin
-1 medium onion in nice thin slices
-About 1/4 cup of olive oil to cook it in depending on how big all of the above turned out to be
-About a half teaspoon salt (some people like more, but my olive oil brings out salt flavor so I go with a half tsp)
-One and a half pounds of nice small yellow or white potatoes cut into dices of about 1 inch. I peel mine so the skin doesn't flap off and look bad in the dish since it gets stirred so often.
*Spices (options below)

Over medium heat, cook up the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes or until onions are clearing nicely. Then add spices (see below) and salt, as well as the cabbage. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until the cabbage is almost, but not quite, done. Then add the potatoes, cover, reduce heat slightly and let cook, tossing often, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are just right.

Spices: You have so many options! The strictly Ethiopian recipe would call for a teaspoon each of tumeric and ground cumin and pepper. If you are at all like me, that much tumeric will give a bitter flavor that isn't totally pleasant.

A good substitution is to decrease tumeric to 1/4 tsp and put in a teaspoon of curry powder (which has a bit of tumeric too). Instead of ground cumin, which tastes different once it has been ground for a while in the cupboard, smash up your own cumin seeds (still 1 tsp). Add a few saffron stamen for another layer of flavor. And use fresh coursely ground pepper to give it a pop.

Certainly, the above combo gives a more Indian flair (it is still very slight in my book) but the beauty of this dish is the ease with which you can nationalize it in flavors you like.

The cabbage suits itself to you rather than you to it. To me, this is a much under-rated veggie, so comfortable and accomodating, yet bursting with nutrition, texture and flavor.


Anonymous said...

I will try this soon!



ChicagoMike said...

I may have to make this just to try it. I can't put the flavors together in my mind to get a clear result.


Kenneth Moore said...

Mmm, that does sound yummy! I might add chard, too--I've got a load sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to use it up. And I'm getting my first CSA delivery tonight--with, of course, cabbage, and I have no idea what to do with it!

I'll try out your recipe (modified for my kitchen--wasabi, a dash of soy sauce, and maybe cayenne pepper) and let you know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try this one - no fresh cabbage here yet, but I have lots of it in my freezer from last year and any new preparations are welcome.
My family often makes cabbage and potatoes, but we've never added carrots and onions to the mix. Our version has turmeric, cumin, paprika, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek.