Of cabbages and …
Thanks to the recent increase in great local winter produce here, combined with my inability to resist it, I found myself staring at the vegetable bin this weekend and thinking, ” You know, I really need to eat this stuff up before I make another order – or worse, before it goes bad.”
So there I was with a big, beautiful head of purple cabbage, bunches of beets and carrots, and a half-dozen radishes left from the clutch I’d been nibbling at all week. Plus four lovely little boneless Red Wattle pork chops from Heritage Farms Northwest. And a couple of Liberty apples.
Apples, pork and cabbage are naturals together, and a rummage through my recipe collection turned up some traditional German dishes that provided the inspiration for a sweet and sour cabbage with pork that, while delicious, wasn’t terribly photogenic.
That still left me with half a cabbage, and I’ve been craving crunch, so: slaw, with beets and carrots and a fistful of parsley thrown in for vitamins. Talk about color!
My errant sense of smell (and thus taste) is mending, but slowly, so I decided to give all that crunchy color a horseradish kick. The result is absolutely delicious.
Spicy Winter Slaw with Root Vegetables
- 1/2 large head red cabbage (or 1 small head), cored and thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 medium beet, shredded
- 6 large radishes, shredded (that’s a lot of shredding – thank goodness for my Benriner Japanese mandoline!)
- 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
- 1/4 cup commercial cole slaw dressing (I like Marie’s)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp prepared hot horseradish (or more, or less, to taste)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large, lidded bowl, combine all the vegetables and parsley. Blend remaining ingredients well, pour over vegetables and toss well (or, as I did, close the bowl and shake it for a while). Taste, correct seasoning. Cover and chill for at least a few hours to let the flavors blend. Makes 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are and the size of your vegetables.
Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage with Apples and Pork Chops
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 head red cabbage, coarsely sliced
- 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 boneless pork chops (do not trim off fat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cut bacon into 1/2 pieces; in a large skillet, fry over medium heat until most of the fat has rendered off. Drain off all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat; return skillet to heat and add onions. Saute until onions start to go limp, then stir in the sugar, balsamic vinegar and wine. Add cabbage and apples and stir well to coat. Cover skillet and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add water and cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, until cabbage begins to soften and a good deal of the liquid has evaporated. Taste to correct the seasoning.
Transfer cabbage mixture to a 9×13 ovenproof baking dish. Add oil to the skillet and turn up the heat. Using oven tongs, hold the pork chops on edge to brown the fat, then lay them down and sear for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
Lay the pork chops on the bed of cabbage. Place pan in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until chops reach an internal temperature of 160F (or are just barely pink in the center). Serve immediately.
Serves four, generously (or in my case, one, four times). Goes great with mashed potatoes.