Braised Red & Green Cabbage

As we go into the shortest day of the winter we know that the hardest months are only to come. Help your body fight off colds and even better, prevent them from even coming with the extremely healthy addition of cabbage to your meal.

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A (which comes from its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene). But in terms of antioxidants in the newer, phytonutrient category, cabbage is impressive, even among cruciferous vegetables. Polyphenols rank at the top of the list for phytonutrient antioxidants in cabbage. In fact, one group of researchers has described polyphenols as the primary factor in cabbage’s overall antioxidant capacity.

Not only is this vegetable full of vital nutrients but with this recipe by Elaine Louie, even your kids will be wanting it.

Fall Vegetable Cookpot: Braised Red and Green Cabbage

Yield 4 servings as a side dish. Time: 2 hours

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons organic white vinegar
  • 1 large head organic red cabbage, cored, 4 intact outer leaves set aside, remaining leaves finely julienned
  • 4 intact outer leaves of an organic Savoy cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 1 organic white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 large organic Napa cabbage, cored, leaves finely julienned
  • 2 teaspoons reduced balsamic vinegar or Saba
  • 3 teaspoons crushed juniper berries
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fleur de sel
    For assembly:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole juniper berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped lime zest
  • 4 ounces peeled butternut squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 ounces peeled Honeycrisp or Gala apple, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 ounces peeled celery root, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 ounces peeled pear, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable brot
Method
  • 1. For the cabbage: Prepare two large bowls of ice water, and set aside. Bring two pots of heavily salted water, each with a tablespoon of white vinegar, to a boil. Add 4 outer leaves of red cabbage to one pot, and 4 outer leaves of Savoy cabbage to the other. Blanch until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove and plunge into the separate ice baths. Drain and set aside, keeping them separate.
  • 2. Place two cast iron pans over low heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to each pan, and heat until shimmering. In one pan combine julienned red cabbage and half the onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent, 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the vegetable broth, cover pan with plastic wrap. In the second pan, combine julienned Napa cabbage and remaining half onion, and sauté until onion is translucent, 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup vegetable broth, and cover pan with plastic wrap. Cook both pans of cabbage until cabbage is tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes.
  • 3. When red cabbage is tender, add reduced balsamic vinegar or Saba, 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed juniper berries, pepper and fleur de sel to taste; mix well. When Napa cabbage is tender, add 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed juniper berries, and pepper and fleur de sel to taste; mix well.
  • 4. For assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a blanched red cabbage leaf in the palm of your hand, and add a quarter of the braised red cabbage in the center. Form a snug ball with the whole leaf as a wrapper. Repeat to make 4 balls of red cabbage. Repeat with blanched Savoy cabbage, using julienned Napa cabbage as the filling, to make 4 balls of green cabbage.
  • 5. In a mortar, combine 1 1/2 teaspoons juniper berries, 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest. With a pestle, grind the mixture coarsely, and set aside.
  • 6. In the bottom of a large covered baking dish, arrange butternut squash, apple, celery root and pear so that they slightly overlap at the edges of the dish. Add the eight balls (alternating red and green), vegetable broth, and ground juniper berries and seasonings. Cook, covered, for 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Note: When you first braise the sliced cabbage, he advises covering the pan with plastic wrap, and not the pan’s own lid. Many lids rise up a bit in the middle. “If you put a lid on it, the water will rise to the lid, and drip to the middle, and the edges will burn,” he said. By covering the pot with a flat sheet of plastic wrap, the water will rise and drip evenly. He uses Savoy cabbage to wrap the balls, and Napa cabbage, for its tenderness, to stuff them. He suggests using the remaining Savoy cabbage for coleslaw.

Original recipe found at NYTimes by Elaine Louie.