Sunday, February 20, 2011

Braised Napa Cabbage with Fennel and Apples

Cabbage is such a homely vegetable. Years of mistreatment can lead to indelible scars and get folks to not like it. Then again, it  can be so poorly done, yet is versatile and keeps wonderfully. It can be eaten raw (think slaw) cooked (braised), or preserved (sauerkraut or kimchi). Nutritionally, it is high in vitamins C and K.

By the way, and I don't normally preach, but studies suggest that women with a diet high in brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and others) have a lower incidence of breast cancer.  Food for thought...

I have a lovely head of Napa cabbage and want to cook something comforting for dinner.

1 head Napa Cabbage
1 Fennel bulb
1-2 apples
Juice of half a lemon
2.5 oz of bacon ( 2-3 slices)
chicken stock (or water or vegetable stock or wine)
salt and pepper to taste

One of the nice things about curing, smoking, and slicing your own bacon is that I have bunch of little bags of bacon ends in the freezer. It adds a salty, smokey, porky note to anything you are cooking. Of course you could skip it and use any fat of your choice, oil, or butter. I love the flavor of the bacon, so that is what I am using.

Brown bacon in a heavy dutch oven over medium high heat.

While bacon browns, core and slice the cabbage and apples. Slice the fennel.

Add the cabbage and fennel, stir to coat in the fat. Cook stirring often until the cabbage begins to brown, about 7-9 minutes.

Add juice of 1/2 lemon and the apples. Cook another 3 minutes.

Add 1 and 1/2  cups stock or enough to almost cover cabbage apple fennel mixture.

Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Braise for 1 hour.

Check seasoning, adjust salt and pepper.

At the end, I added a smoked Kielbasa to the dutch oven to steam/cook.

Serve with steamed buttered new potatoes.

The wife liked it, and said the cabbage was not bitter, must be a function of the apples and fennel.

Try some today!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
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  1. That looks like a great meal, but I've never come across the name "Napa" cabbage. The one you used looks like the oriental variety we call "Chinese leaves".
    I have tried growing them a couple of times, but I found that the slugs and snails loved them more than anything else on earth, and the harvest I obtained was thus negligible!

  2. Interesting the different names for the same thing cross the planet! I've not tried to grow any cabbages yet.


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