[Photograph: Bogdan Bialy]

Braised cabbage is like the nerdy younger brother to the now hip fried brussels sprouts or effortlessly cool kale caesar salad. Grassy and cruciferous like its siblings, cabbage is simply bigger, bulkier, and (often) less flavorful. But if cabbage is prepared as it is in Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden's From A Polish Country House Kitchen, it has a chance at popularity.

First, chop a head of the red stuff into rough pieces, then send it on a trip in a red wine sauce. Once tender, finish the cabbage with silky burre mane (butter and flour mixture), and dot it with tart dried cranberries for a vibrant, silky side dish.

Why I picked this recipe: I don't buy enough cabbage. With simple comforting recipes like this one at my fingertips, I may change my tune.

What worked: Tender, sweet, and tart from the cranberries, Applebaum and Crittenden's cabbage makes for a brilliantly colorful side dish. The burre mane adds an elegant silkiness to the finish; don't omit it.

What didn't: I thought the clove was a bit overpowering. Next time, I'd go down to 1/8 teaspoon. I also seasoned the cabbage as it was cooking in stead of seasoning it entirely at the end.

Suggested tweaks: You could make this same dish with green cabbage or even brussels sprouts, if you prefer. Substitute white wine for the red to keep the colors bright.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of From a Polish Country House Kitchen to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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