Cabbage is a rather overlooked vegetable. When we think of cabbage, I think most of us think of cole slaw or stuffed cabbage rolls. I love both, but sautéed cabbage it good, easy and very versatile. Cabbage is great this time of year, when it’s fresh and sweet. I like to combine red cabbage with green and I prefer Savoy cabbage. Savoy is less coarse, but regular old cabbage holds up very well to sautéing.
I’ve combined relatively coarsely sliced red and regular green cabbage here. I’m going to sauté this mixture in some pan drippings I had leftover from some pork burgers I fried in my cast iron skillet. You’ll see cast iron skillets in many of my pictures, as they are my go-to pans. Anyway, I introduced some “friends” to the cabbage
…meet coarsely chopped scallions, whole caraway seeds, ground allspice, a large pinch of sugar (maple syrup or honey are good too), salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now sauté the whole mess over medium heat until it begins to wilt and the liquid is mostly evaporated; this will take about 5 minutes. It’s better to only stir occasionally as the final product will be more evenly done. The cabbage should still have a nice crunch left. If the mixture seems to be too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water, broth or, particularly at this time of year, apple cider.
Continue to cook for a few minutes, then toss in a chopped fresh apple, or as I used here, an Anjou pear and dried cranberries. I left the skin on, but I usually peel an apple, as their skin is a bit too thick for my taste, but do what you want. Continue to sauté for another 3 or 4 minutes. You want the fruit to just begin to release their juices, but not to cook very much.
That’s it! Seriously, that’s all there is to this. It takes longer to prep the ingredients than it does to cook. You can now eat it immediately, or pour your freshly sautéed cabbage and friends into a serving bowl, let cool to room temperature and serve that way. This is the very same mixture I served with the Butterflied Pork Roast Stuffed with Dry Fruit.
But, I did leave out one very important bit of information. I hate when people do that, so I won’t do that. I drizzled Cranberry-Pear White Balsamic Vinegar over the mixture. We were visiting friends in Maine this summer and I picked up a bottle at this little shop called Fiore in Bar Harbour. They specialize in olive oils and vinegars. Oh, God this stuff is truly to die for…it’s orgasmic. I drizzle this on everything from baked sweet potatoes to chocolate ice cream and well, sautéed cabbage. This is a special “friend”, indeed. Here’s an actual recipe, if you feel the need….
Sautéed Cabbage and Friends Serves 4-6
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, oil, bacon fat, or other pan drippings
- 8-10 cups sliced red, green, Savoy cabbage or a mixture
- 1/2 cup chopped onions, scallions or shallots
- 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1-2 Anjou pears, cored, sliced or diced*
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Flavored or plain good quality balsamic vinegar, to serve
*You may use Anjou pears or Asian pears, if you prefer or peeled cooking apples.
Melt fat in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage, onions, and spices. Cook until cabbage is just beginning to lose its crispness, stirring frequently, about 5-8 minutes. Add pears and dried cranberries. Cook until the fruit begins to release it’s juice and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar; season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into serving dish and drizzle generously with some good balsamic vinegar, either plain or flavored.
COOKS NOTE: You may add some fresh raspberries or strawberries, plums, etc. instead of/or with the pears. Change the dried cranberries to diced or sliced dried dates, apricots, figs or other dried fruit. Choose your vinegar to compliment your fruit of choice.
Make Ahead: You can prepare this 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate (do not add the vinegar until just before serving). Return to room temperature or warm over medium heat (or in the microwave) before serving.