Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.
In this casserole, a stint in a hot oven draws out the roasty sweetness hidden within every head of cabbage. Some sweet-tart apples and smoky bacon bring all the flavors into harmony. You'll be surprised how little bacon it takes to infuse the whole dish with meaty complexity, but if you prefer a vegetarian version, substitute 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the bacon and use veggie stock instead of chicken stock.
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- 2 slices (about 2 ounces bacon), chopped
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 2 roasted red peppers, halved and cut into ribbons
- 1 small green cabbage, cored, quartered and sliced thin
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Butter, for dotting the top of the casserole
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Fry the bacon in a pan over medium-high heat until crisp; reserve bacon pieces. If you have less than 2 tablespoons fat in the pan, add enough reserved bacon fat, butter, or oil to equal 2 tablespoons. Add the shallots, and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, cabbage, apple, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and let steam for another 10 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon pieces.
Pour the mixture into a lightly greased casserole, place in the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes. Just when you see dark browning of the vegetables, remove from the oven, sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter, and broil just until the crumbs become brown and crisp.