Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables.
As a proud Quarter-Irishwoman, I simply couldn't let St. Patrick's Day roll by without a proper dinner of corned beef and cabbage. But your average boiled green cabbage doesn't so much remind me of dinner as it does a recent, unexpectedly endless car ride with nothing to snack on and only A Prairie Home Companion's boiled owl humor for company.
If you're unfamiliar with the reference, let's just say I am deeply envious of your innocence. If you're familiar, please contact me so we can schedule some group therapy and then, with any luck, move on with our lives.
A few Novembers back, in a blissfully different time and place, I ran across a recipe in Gourmet for red cabbage and apples "quick-braised" in caraway- and allsipce-scented cider and finished with a touch of cider vinegar. A little sweet, a little sour, and just the right amount hearty and warming, it perfectly communicated the essence of fall and quickly became a regular accompaniment to chicken and pork in our kitchen.
Maybe it's the hot shamrock shades I'm looking through, but this year that red cabbage is looking awfully lusty next to a hunk of St. Patty's corned beef. Sure, it's practically spring, but the meat and veg have warming spices and a hint of sweetness in common, and they both pair jauntily with potatoes.
It's the perfect antidote to the boiled cabbage blues. Now, off to find a cure for boiled owl.
Lucky-Lusty Red Cabbage and Apples
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 large head red cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large cooking apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 whole allspice, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar