how to make cabbage rad: BRAISE IT with Ginger and Caramel

huntington beach dead of winter<–My dear friend Parisa posted this very recently on facebook.  It’s the dead of winter.

I don’t get it.  My nose is running, I’ve got the average toll up to two layers of socks a day, and my skin is whiter than unrefined sugar.  (I guess that makes it refined sugar?)

cabbage and asian ingredientsI feel like a polar bear.  And in cold times, I want to eat cozy food: things braised, hearty, yet healthy.  Which brought to mind cabbage the other morning when I awoke without the slightest idea if there was even any space between the entry way to my nasal passage and the back of my head.  Stuffed up.

However, when I think of cabbage I think of Beatrix Potter.  That’s sweet, but not exciting.

When I think of ginger, caramel, and hot sauce I want to sweat a little.  In a good way.

So, the two had a playdate and this was born.  I’m on round three right now.  Yum.

ginger braised cabbageGinger Braised Cabbage

2 tbs. sesame seed oil (for Asian flavor) or pork’s fat or high heat oil (neutral flavor), divided
1/4 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 apple, cut into small cubes (you can peel if you don’t like the skins or leave them on)
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbs. honey
a large 1/2 tsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
a few dashes your favorite hot sauce (to taste, some like it hot, some don’t)
1 large curly cabbage, cut into thin strips (use either a mandolin or thin knife cuts)
1/4 cup high quality apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbs. fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 hours minimum (about 3 hours maximum)
Serves 4-6

caramel onion garlic giner apples1. Heat 1 tbs. oil or fat over medium heat in large pot.  Add onion, sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until edges are coloring and caramelizing.  Add garlic and ginger.  Sauté another minute, until aromatic.  Add honey and lemon zest.  Cook for 30 seconds to start a caramel.  Once starting to turn more brown, add apple.  Stir to coat.  Let cook for another 2 minutes, or until the caramel is a deep amber brown, not dark brown and burnt.
2. At this point add tamari, hot sauce (optional), another 1 tbs. oil and your cabbage strips right away.  Coat with caramel, and cook for 2 minutes, until heated through.  Add apple cider vinegar, increase heat to high, and reduce until there is no liquid at the bottom, about 1-2 cabbage before cookingminutes, stirring to coat cabbage evenly.  Immediately add water, thyme, and optional fresh herbs.  Bring to a boil, stir cabbage a few times to bring the bottom pieces to the top, cover, and reduce heat to low.
3. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally to bring the bottom pieces to the top, for minimum 1.5 hours.  If the water is running out at the bottom, add a bit more.  At the end there should be a bit of water left, so if you braise it for 3 hours, you’ll have to add water half way through at the least.
finished braised cabbage<–and she’s done!

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