I don’t believe I have a drop of Irish blood in me, and I don’t feel Irish come St. Patrick’s Day. But I can appreciate having a day to celebrate Irish culture in whatever way you see fit. For me, of course, that’s with food. Lots of Irish recipes, especially by way of America, are quite heavy and meaty so I wanted to do something simple, vegetarian, and budget-friendly. Enter braised cabbage, sans bacon (I know, sacre bleu!). All it takes is a head of cabbage (one of the least expensive vegetables I know), a knob of butter, a bit of broth and salt and pepper.
Part of the brassica family, cabbage is one of my husband’s favorite vegetables. We make cabbage salads often, like this Asian Cabbage Salad from last week, “health salad” inspired by the Second Avenue Deli, or shredded red cabbage salads with lots of veggies and feta. But it’s not often that we cook cabbage. Maybe it’s the childhood sense memories it evokes of our upstairs neighbors boiling the heck out of cabbage on Saturday afternoons, but I never wanted to mess with the clean, cool crunch of raw cabbage. But I was mistaken.
This braised vegetarian and gluten free cabbage recipe couldn’t be easier and, although there isn’t much butter compared to the heft of the cabbage, the resulting flavor is incredibly buttery and smooth. I cooked the cabbage until wilted but not soggy – you still want some bite there.
Although we ate it on its own with a non-cabbage-based salad, braised cabbage makes an amazing side for just about any meal. I imagine it being delicious alongside roast chicken, and of course cabbage has an affinity for pork. Or, keep it vegetarian by serving it with seitan or marinated tofu. I threw some of the leftover braised cabbage into soup, where it added body and flavor, and I also think it would be great with pasta. Just saying.
- 2 tablespoons butter (plus more if desired)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 head white cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Melt the butter in a wide-rimmed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft.
- Add the cabbage and toss as best as you can. Pour the broth over and cover.
- Simmer gently over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted (about halfway through toss gently).
- Remove from the heat and toss again. Toss in another small pat of butter, if you like. Season generously with coarse salt and pepper and serve.
To make parve and vegan substitute a non-dairy butter alternative like Earth's Balance.