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Cook this: Melted green cabbage from Sababa


Our cookbook of the week is Sababa by Adeena Sussman. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.

Inexpensive and durable, a head of green cabbage can last for up to two months in the crisper. These attributes, though admirable, unfortunately often overshadow its versatility. Not to mention the fact that, when treated with respect, cabbage can be unbelievably delicious.

Here, Adeena Sussman sears and braises it in stock and wine for one of the tastiest cabbage dishes I’ve ever eaten. Deep in colour and flavour, her recipe is a master class in how to transform a humble ingredient into something luscious and indulgent.

“It feels good to make, and it feels good to eat. I think it’s a great thing to be making right now,” says Sussman. “(This) dish really surprises people. I can’t tell you how many people have said, ‘I don’t even like cabbage and I keep making that cabbage’ or ‘I had no idea cabbage could taste that good.’ It really changes the texture and the character.”

MELTED GREEN CABBAGE

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours

1/3 cup (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp (2 mL) coarsely cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
2 small heads of green cabbage (2 lb; 900 g), quartered (but not cored)
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 shallots, peeled and halved
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry, acidic white wine, such as Albariño or Grüner Veltliner
1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken or vegetable broth, plus more if necessary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (50 mL) crème fraîche or sour cream
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Step 2

In a heavy, large, high-sided skillet or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) of the pepper directly onto the oil, then arrange the cabbage wedges in the pot, making sure that each is lying on a flat side (you can cram them in; they’ll relax into one another as they release liquid). Let the undersides get nice and brown, resisting the urge to move them too much but checking once to make sure they’re not burning (reduce the heat slightly if they are), 6 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cabbage wedges, then tuck the garlic cloves and shallots into the pot, and brown the undersides of the cabbage, another 6 to 7 minutes. Add the wine and broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and add the remaining 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) pepper along with the thyme. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, transfer to the oven, and cook until soft, slumped and mahogany brown, 2 hours, or 2 1/2 hours for even softer cabbage. Uncover, cool slightly, and serve the cabbage with the liquid accumulated in the pot. Season with salt and pepper and top with butter and crème fraîche. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Serves: 4

From Sababa by Adeena Sussman, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Adeena Sussman.

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