AS THE WINTER DEEPENS, A DELICIOUS, WARMING MEAL HAS THE POWER TO BRIGHTEN THE DARKER EVENINGS AND TO BRING A LITTLE EXTRA COMFORT. FOR DECEMBER, OUR INGREDIENT OF THE MONTH IS A VEGETABLE THAT DATES BACK TO THE 1600S, AND COMPLEMENTS A RICH STEW OR A DECEDENT SUNDAY ROAST. WE’RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH CABBAGE IN ITS MANY VARIETIES: RED, PURPLE OR GREEN; THIS MONTH WE’RE SINGING THE PRAISES OF THE WHITE CABBAGE.
Round and firm, white cabbages have tightly packed, glossy, pale-green leaves. Their sweet, mild taste makes them excellent raw in salads such as coleslaw, or as a simple side dish. When getting ingredients for your own winter warmer choose a firm cabbage that feels heavy for its size, with unblemished, smooth leaves and a head that’s solid and compact. White cabbages are now available all year round, making them they’re a great choice for winter salads.
Not only does cabbage make a delicious addition to a meal, it’s good for you, too. It’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, iron and much more. One cup of cabbage only holds about 15 calories, so it’s a smart choice as part of a low calorie diet.
Simple, uncomplicated cooking techniques bring out the best in white cabbage — it can be braised in a stock or white wine for around five minutes to retain a slight bite, or for a longer period of time to fully bring out its natural sweetness. Steaming is another popular method, keeping all of the texture and nutrients of the cabbage intact. Steamed cabbage has a delicate flavour, which suits a light finish of a drizzle of sesame oil, melted butter or olive oil.
And it’s good value as a leftover too — if you prepare too much for a Sunday roast, you can fry it with root vegetables for a hearty bubble and squeak the next day.
We love to champion fresh ingredients all year round, and white cabbage is no exception. We’re always looking for new and exciting recipes that incorporate the best seasonal food this country has to offer, so you’ll always be treated to delicious and interesting meals.
Great British Chefs. (2014). How to cook white cabbage. Available: http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/how-to-cook/how-to-cook-white-cabbage. Last accessed 25 November 2014.