Last Sunday night, as my weekly menu plan started to take shape, an autumnal influence became obvious. Cabbage, apples, leeks and carrots all had a featured spot over the week. And why not? This produce is beckoning from the market stalls: firm, vibrant and, best of all, a bargain. It deserves to be snapped up and served for dinner.
Cabbage just might be the best bargain out there. At this time of the year the heads are tight, bright green and so crisp, they practically snap in two at the nudge of a knife. Green, red and savoy cabbage are all competing for attention, but I’ve been buying the green for its versatility.
Today, I’d like to offer you 4 easy ways to prepare this leafy fall vegetable.
Simple Cooking Methods for Cabbage
Note: In general, fresh cabbage heads can be stored in a refrigerator crisper for up to two weeks. Once it is quartered, wrap each wedge tightly with plastic wrap and use within 2-3 days.
When chopped cabbage is cooked with a small amount of liquid -either stock, vinegar, alcohol or water- and covered with a lid, this is called braising. The results are tender and flavorful and the cabbage needs only a pat of butter before serving.
Red cabbage is most frequently prepared this way, braised with flavorings such as beer, port, or apple cider, but green cabbage is equally delicious. Molly of Orangette professes her love of a slow-braised Green Cabbage with Onions, Carrots, and a Poached Egg and I am inclined to agree – it looks scrumptious.
If you enjoy cooked cabbage with a bit more texture, as I do, then a quick saute does the trick. Melted butter in a skillet, a mound of thinly sliced cabbage and 5-7 minutes of cooking time is all you need to enjoy your sauteed cabbage.
My recipe below elaborates slightly on the sauteed method, with leeks and apples joining the cabbage for a quick cook. It makes for a hearty side dish that highlights the season’s best ingredients.
Photo by Elizabeth Nyland
Crunchy coleslaw is a favorite salad of ours and we make it regularly over the winter months when we’re craving something green and fresh. Often our slaws are as simple as chopped cabbage and grated carrot with a light sour cream and lemon dressing, but Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen suggests an Apple and Fennel Slaw that has me thinking I need to expand my repertoire soon.
She also pairs creamy coleslaw and pulled pork together in a wrap for a scrumptious fall dinner. Yes, I’m thinking the humble slaw is getting its makeover by Elizabeth.
We’ve talked about lacto-fermentation before and Cordito, or fermented sauerkraut, is a great way to preserve cabbage. It’s also extremely nutritious and very beneficial for the digestive system.
Traditional sauerkraut is also fairly simple to make, just be willing to wait nearly a week for the natural fermentation to happen.
|Sauteed Cabbage & Leeks with Apples|| |
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 whole leek
- 1/2 green cabbage head
- 1 large apple
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Prepare leeks by cleaning them, drying and chopping them into 1/2 inch rounds. Divide cabbage into two quarters, lay them on a flat, cut side and roughly chop them into chunks, avoiding the core. Separate the cabbage pieces slightly.
- Heat a 5 quart French oven or a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter is bubbling.
- Add leeks to melted butter and saute for two minutes. Add the cabbage all at once and immediately stir thoroughly to coat the cabbage with butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Partially cover and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until cabbage has wilted significantly. During this time, quarter and core the apple and roughly dice.
- Add the apple to the cabbage as well as the apple cider vinegar. Saute on medium heat for another three minutes, stirring often. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve hot.
More Cabbage Recipes Well Worth a Mention
White Beans and Cabbage :: Steamy Kitchen. It’s the cover recipe for Heidi Swanson’s fantastic cookbook, Super, Natural Everyday. Comfort food at its finest.
Cabbage Apple Casserole :: Serious Eats. Obviously, I’m a fan of pairing apples and cabbage. Add bacon and I’m perfectly happy! PS. This would make an ideal rustic side dish to a baked ham Sunday dinner.
Simple Summer Slaw :: Stetted. Megan spikes her coleslaw with a dash of curry and suggests using the salad as a topping for fish tacos. You don’t have to tell me twice.
Reuben-Inspired Panini with Corned Beef & Roasted Cabbage :: Katie Goodman for Craft. These sandwiches have gotten into my head and I’m not going to rest until I’ve made a stack!
How do you enjoy green cabbage?