Stewed cabbage is a frequent side dish on many festive tables: whether white or purple, the affordable yet characterful vegetable can be a dish that goes well with many delicious dishes. Let’s see what makes stewed cabbage perfect.
What do festive roasts call for? Perfect stewed cabbage! And how should it be? Soft yet slightly crunchy, sweet yet a little sour, cuminy, a little peppery. While this may seem like a lot to ask at first, it’s not difficult to achieve, because the perfect stewed cabbage is in fact a simple side dish. But let’s go over a step-by-step guide to make sure you don’t make any mistakes.
Step one: the preparations
It all starts with preparation: it’s a good idea to remove the outer leaves from the cabbage, as they don’t steam as tenderly. Don’t cut the stems just yet, as they will hold the leaves together while you slice the cabbage.
It is better to slice cabbage with a knife rather than grating it, as this will result in longer strands.
Of course, you should make sure that you cut the strips relatively evenly; this way, the cabbage will soften at the same time and in the same way during the stewing process, and there will be no unpleasantly tough or overcooked pieces in the side dish.
A further preparatory step is to salt the cabbage: rub with a good amount of salt to allow the cabbage to release most of its moisture. After adding salt, leave the cabbage to rest in a bowl for half an hour.
Step two: the braising
To stew the cabbage to perfection, you will need a few other ingredients: fat (goose or duck fat is an excellent choice, for example), sugar, a diced onion, pepper and cumin, and a little apple cider vinegar.
The steps are as follows:
Melt the fat and sauté the onion until translucent
Once the onion is translucent, sprinkle over the sugar and caramelize well (but don’t burn it, as it will turn bitter).
When you have your onion base ready, add the cabbage from which you have squeezed out excess water
Season with pepper and cumin
You may not need more salt, as you have already salted the cabbage well, but you should taste it during strewing to see if it needs more.
You will need to be patient with stewed cabbage: cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes so that they it does not turn soggy but softens slowly.
You may need to add a little water if the cabbage starts to stick and burn.
At the very end, drizzle a little apple cider vinegar over the cabbage to balance the sweet and sour flavors.
If you want to make steamed cabbage even more elegant, add bay leaves, juniper berries and allspice. You can also add apples and oranges, halfway through steaming. Red wine can be substituted for water (white wine for white cabbage) and red wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar for white cabbage).