Cream Braised Cabbage - oh so good!

Quite some time ago I picked up the book “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg. It is a great quick read that is witty, descriptive, and has a casual approach to her life and recipes. I throughly enjoyed it and have given a bunch of the recipes in it a try and we've not had a complaint with them yet. The other day I picked up the book and thumbed through it to find her recipe on Banana Bread (my husband and I love it), when I happened to catch a glimpse of one of the other recipes in there for Cream Braised Cabbage. I remembered reading and loving the sound of it, but alas, there is only so much time and way too many recipes! Although, as luck should have it there was a small head of cabbage in my refrigerator! Well, well, well - it was going to be a fun filled night of braising cabbage. Yes, I know…there are some things that do not sound exciting to most, but to me this is thrilling.

Cabbage, crowded in the pan and ready to be seared.

Why? You see the days have started to really feel like fall around here. The air is cool and breezy. Days are growing shorter, and that funny thing called rain has been showing up. It is the perfect timing for a braised dish. One that simmers away at a slow pace making what you are cooking tender to a fork, velvety to your tongue, and rich on your pallet in a way that other cooking technique could ever do. Braising anything warms my kitchen and my soul. Yes! Cream Braised Cabbage you are perfect.

Seared and braising away with the cream.

Now I know some might look at the cooking time and say this is not a mid week dinner, but think again. Besides the the turning of the cabbage while it sears, and again while it braises, it gives you free hands to do what you like. Just an occasion check on the cabbage as needed. In the mean time I steamed some veggies to serve along side, folded laundry, made a salad and set the table. Wala! Dinner was ready. As I said the cabbage is fork tender and the cream makes it luscious. I paired it with some steamed carrots and boiled, little red potatoes sprinkled with a bit of thyme. (But I think this would pair extremely well with some seared pork chops or roasted chicken too.) It was just what a fall evening of lightly drizzling rain called for. I have said it before and I will say it again…this recipe is a must try. It will make you swoon over its tender braising perfection.

Tender and sweet braised cabbage. Plated with veggies on the side.

Cream Braise Green Cabbage (serves 4-6)

From the book: “A Homemade Life” 

1 small head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs)

3 tbsp (1 1/2 oz) of unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste

2/3 cup of heavy cream

1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice

First, pull away any outer leaves of your cabbage. trim the root end and and wash well to remove any dirt. Cut the cabbage into quarters, and then cut each quarter in half lengthwise, keeping a bit of the core with each wedge you cut. Try to keep them in equal sizes.

Next, place a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat to melt the butter. Add the cabbage wedges, arranging them in a single crowded layer with one cut side down against the skillet. Do not disturb the cabbage and keep them this way for about 5 minutes until the down side is well seared and brown. (The browning is the caramelization of the vegetable and gives it a lightly sweet flavor.)

Then, using a a pair of thongs gently turn your wedges to the other cut side to sear. When that side sears like the other you may sprinkle the 1/4 tsp of salt over the wedges, and then add the cream to the pan. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. You are looking for the liquid to stay at a slow and gentle simmer. Let it cook for 20 minutes, remove the lid and turn the wedges with tongs and repeat again for another 20 minutes with the lid on. The cabbage will be tender and can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. Add the lemon juice and shake the pan so that it evenly distributes.

Finally, let the pan simmer a few minutes to let the liquid in the pan thicken a bit. The cream should be able to coat the cabbage in a loose glaze like way. Serve immediately with additional salt for others to add.