A recipe for cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is so predictable. Here it is anyway.
I got caught out on a title like this a year ago (The Best Rice Pudding in the World; https://whatfoodimade.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/the-best-rice-pudding-in-the-world). After making it, I found that it was not even the best rice pudding I’d ever made. Even after that disappointment, I thought that trying another recipe billed as the “world’s best” would be a good idea.
This time, however, the title might be correct. Unlike rice pudding, there aren’t a whole bunch of recipes for braised cabbage, so that makes the claim a little easier to make.
So… get a cabbage.
Cut it in half, then cut the halves into 4 pieces.
Get a couple of carrots and an onion and slice them.
Cabbage on the bottom of the casserole, carrots and onions on top.
Add the oil, then the stock.
Season with pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.
Here’s the cabbage after the first hour.
After the cabbage has cooked for 2 hours, remove the foil and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.
World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage.
This is a great way to make cabbage and it’s really good as leftovers the next day, fried in some butter until the edges get quite browned. Or you could cut the cabbage into chunks and reheat it with some chopped bacon. That was good too.
The recipe is from All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking by Molly Stevens.
World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage
1 medium head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
1 large yellow onion (about 8 ounces), thickly sliced
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 pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a large gratin dish or a baking dish (9 x 13″ works well).
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 the cabbage into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges in the baking dish, they may overlap some, but do your best to make a single layer.
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.
The finish: Once the cabbage is completely tender, remove the foil, increase the oven heat to 400°F, 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 green cabbage with Balsamic vinegar
I sometimes add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the cabbage to enhance its sweetness. After you remove the foil, sprinkle on 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and turn the cabbage with tongs to distribute the vinegar, then roast for another 15 minutes, uncovered as directed.