I apologise for not realising your full potential all these years. You have been a faithful staple, staying firm in slaws, adding a spray of colour to salads, and supplely wrapping the meat and rice for my family’s stuffed cabbage for generations. I also know about your many benefits as a health-protective cruciferous vegetable.
But I have never really seen you until now. I always took you for basic, second-class even, but now I understand how glorious you can be. I finally discovered that when cut into wedges, browned in a pan, then oven-braised until meltingly tender and caramelised, you become truly, compellingly luxurious.
I can imagine endless variations of braising liquids and seasonings that would work well using this technique, but this combination of sautéed onion and garlic coax out your earthy sweetness while caraway seeds and apple cider vinegar disrupt it with just the right notes.
Crowned with dollops of creamy yoghurt and fresh dill fronds, you are splendid like this, served right out of the pan, drizzled with the thickened pan juices. Plated as a vegetarian entree with a hunk of bread, or alongside roasted chicken, you are, finally, the dish that gets the accolades.
Cabbage, now that I have seen what you are capable of, I promise I will never look at you with anything less than wonder again.
Caramelised cabbage with caraway, dill and yoghurt
Active time: 35 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Storage notes: Leftover cabbage can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
1 medium head green cabbage (about 1.1-1.2kg)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion (about 225g), halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1 tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp fine sea or table salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
350ml low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup fresh dill fronds
185g plain Greek yogurt (nonfat, low-fat or whole)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 180C.
Cut the cabbage in half through the core, then cut each half into four wedges, making sure that each wedge retains some core to hold it together, so that you have 8 wedges.
In a large, ovenproof, high-sided frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons of the oil until shimmering. Add four wedges of cabbage to the pan and sear until the cabbage is well browned and slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cabbage to a plate, and then repeat with another 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons of the oil and the remaining cabbage, transferring the cabbage to the plate once browned.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil to the same pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and caraway and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds more. Return the cabbage to the pan, overlapping the wedges as needed. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the broth and vinegar and bring to a simmer.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the cabbage is very tender and the liquid has reduced to about half.
Serve garnished with dill fronds and dollops of yoghurt, and seasoned with additional salt, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving (1 cabbage wedge and 1½ tablespoons yoghurt), based on 8 | Calories: 132; total fat: 7g; saturated fat: 1g; cholesterol: 1mg; sodium: 199mg; carbohydrates: 14g; dietary fibre: 4g; sugar: 7g; protein: 6g.
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.
© The Washington Post
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