Thursday, January 20, 2011

Braised Red Cabbage and Kale

Here's something I didn't know: red cabbage will last for weeks, even after you have cut into it. I bought a small head of red cabbage to make the slaw for the carnitas tacos I made the week before Christmas. That used a scant third of the head. I used another third after I got back from Austin to make some breakfast frittatas, and then that last little third fell down to the bottom of my vegetable crisper and I forgot it was there. Or maybe I was tired of it, anything is possible.

Until last night, when I was getting ready to cook some of the kale I got on sale at Whole Foods last week. I needed something green to go with the pot roast and root vegetables I had braised over the weekend. I went into the crisper to get the kale and my hand found that last little third of cabbage. I pulled it out and figured it would give the kale a little boost and some color.

Granted, the edges were a little yellow and slightly limp, so I just shaved them off and it was fine under there. I shredded the cabbage, sliced some onion and minced some garlic, shredded the kale, and got to work.

The result was bright and fresh, and gave an acidic undertone to the richness of the root vegetables and the beef. The addition of my homemade mustard, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar punched it up with some sweet and sour. A smattering of caraway seeds brings all of the flavors together.

So if you're feeling a little drab during these drab winter months, brighten up your plate with some healthy greens.

2 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1/4 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/3 head red cabbage, shredded
1 bunch of kale, stems and leaves separated, stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces, leaves shredded
1 Tbsp whole-grain or Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tsp brown sugar, or to taste
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, or to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, then the garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the caraway seeds and cook them for a minute, then add the mustard (if using whole grain mustard; otherwise add it with the vegetable broth). Cook for another minute and then add the red cabbage and the kale stems. Season with salt and pepper.

Saute the cabbage until it is translucent and wilted. Add the vegetable broth and the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. When the broth starts to boil, lower the heat and let the cabbage simmer for 10 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.

Add the kale and cook until it is well wilted, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Makes 4 side servings.

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