When it’s cold outside, I yearn for dishes that include this amazing vegetable. I’ll cook up cabbage with apples into a wilted bed for juicy roast Cornish hens, as a soothing soup with or without beef and in a fresh shredded cabbage salad studded with pomegranate seeds and bits of fresh citrus.
Recently, I was reminiscing about a meal I had enjoyed many years ago in Paris that included soft, braised sweet and sour cabbage wedges. It was a first course to a hearty dinner on a chilly February night. I so enjoyed that clever adaptation of the classic cabbage soup. This is my recollection of that tasty and satisfying dish that is certain to satisfy a craving for a comforting dish.
The sauce is easy to make. Tomato paste added to chicken stock is the base. For sweet and sour flavor, brown sugar and cider vinegar provide just the right balance. I prefer golden raisins, but you could also use dark raisins. Make sure to brown each side of the cabbage wedges.
While I might have had this in Paris as a first course many years ago, I find it just right as a main course with warm crusty chunks of country bread. To drink? How about a merlot or a chilled beer? Enjoy.
Braised Sweet and Sour Cabbage Wedges
Serves 2 to 4
- 1/4 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 1 medium green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges with core intact
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream, garnish
- Dill weed sprigs, garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet with cover over medium-high heat.
2. Place the cabbage in the pan turning and saute the wedges on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until nicely browned.
3. While the cabbage is cooking combine the chicken broth and tomato paste in a glass measuring cup and whisk to combine. Add the tomato-chicken broth, vinegar, sugar, raisins, and salt and pepper to taste; bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and slowly simmer, turning every 15 minutes and spooning some of the sauce over, until the cabbage is tender and the liquid is slightly thickened, 50 minutes to an hour depending upon the size of the cabbage. Taste for seasoning.
5. Place each wedge in a shallow soup bowl with some of the sauce and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and dill sprigs.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)
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