There seems to be a growing trend for cooking entire vegetables: celeriac, cauliflower, cabbage and the such. The combination of a family conversation over Christmas, a suitable recipe being printed and the endless time between Christmas and new year has meant that I tried a braised cabbage last night.
It was surprisingly good. The cider, ham and chestnuts were a great accompaniment to the cabbage without overwhelming it. Crucially, though, there wasn't too much cabbage to put you off eating a wedge. It was very satisfying "carving" a whole cabbage too. Oh and more importantly I am now BANG ON TREND!
Definitely give this a go if you're having cabbage; it could convert a cabbage naysayer.
Whole braised cabbage (care of Tom Kerridge)
100ml chicken stock
Bramley apple, peeled
6 garlic cloves, grated
Bunch thyme, tied
100g ham, finely chopped
100g, vacuum-packed chestnuts, broken into pieces
1. Discard the large and loose outer leaves from the cabbage and trim the stalk (so that the cabbage will sit flat). Put two metal skewers perpendicularly through the equator of the cabbage.
2. Put the cider and chicken stock in a large pan (large enough to comfortably hold the cabbage) and bring to the boil. As the liquid is heating grate in the apple.
3. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and add the garlic and butter.
4. Once the butter has melted add the chestnuts, ham and thyme.
5. Place the cabbage on top and baste.
6. Cover and bast every 10mins until cooked through. This may take up to 1hour. Remember test only the outer parts as you won't be eating the dense central core.
7. To serve, remove the skewer and the top layer of cabbage leaves. Place the leaves on the serving platter and top with the cabbage. By doing this the bright green inner leaves will be revealed giving a fresher presentation.
8. Pour the cooking liquor over the cabbage (having reduced if required).
9. Carve and serve!