“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~AA Milne, when we were very young
NOTE: I am away at the moment helping my mother with her treatment for lung cancer. I have set up a few posts to post whilst I am away as a special surprise. Some are new and some are reposts of old favourites that you may have forgotten, or if you are a new reader may not even have seen. I'll be back at the end of May, but in the meantime . . . Enjoy!
PS - I will only have sporadic internet use, so if you ask a question and I don't get back to you . . . it's not that I don't want to. It just may take me a while.
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
I love winter food . . . comfort food, warming and filling. Indoor food. Foods like earthy root vegetables and potatoes . . . leeks and cabbage. Cabbage is a real favourite around here, and I'm not picky about the variety either. I love all types.
We just adore red cabbage, gently spiced . . . sweet and sour almost . . . it's absolutely lovely with pork and turkey . . . another favourite meal of ours is simply sauteed white cabbage stirred together with rice or noodles. Simply fabulous. You can't get much better than that.
Sauteed, boiled . . . pickled, steamed . . . stewed and even raw. Cabbage is a favourite winter food in the Rayner household, full stop.
Most people make the mistake of overcooking their cabbage, and don't get me wrong . . . there is a perfect time for that . . . think stuffed cabbage here, or baked with sausage, Trou style. In a dish like that you want the cabbage meltingly soft . . . almost butter soft . . . but you would never use a Savoy for that . . . only a green or a white.
This recipe is the perfect way to showcase the brilliant green and earthy, jewel-like Savoy variety. Quickly blanched, sliced and then stirred together with some sauteed pancetta with it's lovely salt and pepper flavours, beautifully herby Sage . . . and rich cream. Each ingredient bringing out the very best of this beautifully humble vegetable.
I could eat a whole plate of nothing but this . . . but it does go particularly well with roasted chicken and potatoes. Do cook extra potatoes so that you can enjoy the leftovers of both the cabbage the potatoes stirred together and fried in butter for a simple hash the next day.
*Cabbage with Pancetta and Cream*
Cabbage and bacon are a marriage made in heaven . . . add some cream and you have bliss. Perfect side dish for roast chicken and potatoes.
1 large bay leaf
1 savoy cabbage (about 3 pounds)
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
100g chopped pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
half a dozen sage leaves, thinly sliced
4 TBS creme fraiche or double cream
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the bay leaf, broken in half. Cut the cabbage into quarters and blanch it in the boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Allow to cool until you can touch it with your hands. Cut out the cores and discard. Cut the remainder of the cabbage into thick slices, crosswise.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet. Once the butter begins to foam add the pancetta and sage. Cook and stir over high heat for about a minute. Add the cabbage along with some salt and cook, stirring occasionally for several minutes, until heated through. Add the cream and heat through, stirring to combine completely. Season to taste with some more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.