This easy vegetable side dish, however, is the result of a happy kitchen accident.
The phone rang just as I dumped the onion and the first of the cabbage into the hot pan. With the portable out of reach, I answered in my next-door office -- without thinking to turn off the heat. Oops. Ten minutes later the onion and cabbage had browned-browned-browned, so much I wondered if they'd be salvageable for supper. Happy accident indeed, the browned-browned-browned cabbage and onions, mixed with mustard and horseradish, were sooo good!
And why do I say 'browned-browned-browned', aside from the obvious answer of color? Well you see, I've been reading my new favorite Harold McGee. And thanks to the eminently readable guru of food science, I now know that technically, only butter and brown sugar caramelize, whereas meats and vegetables brown -- via what's called the Maillard reaction. (The word needs a verb form, don't you think, Maillard-ize? or Maillize? perhaps?) I love learning this stuff!
Small World: I just found out that Karen from FamilyStyle Food met Harold McGee! She wrote about it too for St. Louis' great alternative paper, the Riverfront Times.
Anyway. This is a great side vegetable. It's got strong flavors so I'd recommend serving it with meat that can match up -- grilled pork, sausages. And it's rich -- so small servings taste like more.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
If you love cooked cabbage, try Kitchen Parade's Caraway Cabbage or perhaps the Cape Breton Cabbage or the Swedish Red Cabbage. Otherwise, check out all the cabbage recipes in the Recipe Box.
A YEAR AGO The ever-so-thrifty No Waste Leek Stock
FROM GREAT FOOD BLOGS
BakingSheet ... in a rare non-baking post, Hot & Sour Cabbage Soup
Orangette ... Braised Green Cabbage with Onions, Carrots, and a Poached Egg
Habeas Brulee ... Cabbage Strudel
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BROWNED CABBAGE with MUSTARD & HORSERADISH
Time to table: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced large
About 1 pound cabbage, sliced thin (1 pound is about half a typical head)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
1 teaspoon (or more) horseradish
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter til shimmery on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion, cabbage and salt; stir til covered with fat. Arrange for the phone to ring and walk away for 10 minutes. If this isn't practical, do your best to ignore the cabbage for 10 minutes, letting it brown. If you can't ignore it, stir only very occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into cabbage and let cook 1 - 2 minutes til cabbage thickens slightly. Season to taste and serve.