Last night’s dinner was simple Irish fare for St. Patrick’s Day: Tender Boiled Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets. Both items were easy and quick with minimal clean-up.
Cabbage is low in calories, rich in phytonutrients and vitamins like A, C, and K, and it is high in dietary fiber. It’s an easy-to-cook, easy-to-like, cruciferous veggie that is one of my faves. It loses nutrients if it is cooked, and more-so if it is cooked too long or too hot. Keep it tender but still retain as much of the good stuff as possible by giving it an occasional poke to test for doneness. If the house starts stinking, it’s cooked too long!
Here’s my green cabbage “recipe”:
Basically just boil, drain, serve!
Fill a large stockpot or pasta pot with water, leaving room for displacement by the cabbage head.
I use the pot of my pressure-cooker. It’s heavy with a thick bottom and holds several gallons.
Heat it to a low simmer.
Rinse the cabbage head.
Remove the outermost leaves and discard.
(I compost these or give ’em to my bunny-bun-bun, Duchess)
Cut the cabbage head in half through its stem.
Trim the very end of the stem off, but don’t cut too far as it holds the halves together.
If you notice buggies or wormies, place your cut cabbage in salty water or vinegar water solution to kill & remove them then rinse and continue. They had a tasty cabbage for their last meal!
Add a lot of salt to the pot of water!
How much is a lot? I dunno…I dump some in until it tastes like seawater (YUM!).
Give it a quick stir.
Plop the two cabbage halves (carefully) into the simmering water and go set the table.
It’s a good time to set your butter out so it can soften in time for dinner. It always takes my hubby at least 15 minutes to get ready for dinner so now’s when I give him the dinner bell.
Start checking the cabbage after about 15 minutes.
Poke it with one of those long, stabby meat-forks…they have a name, right? The cabbage should be this beautiful, translucent light green and it should not be stinky or falling apart which would mean it had overcooked. The time depends on the size, obviously, but it will never take more than 30 minutes.
When it’s done, remove it with tongs and lay it cut-side down in a colander in the sink and let it drain for a few minutes.
Cut each half in half and serve each person a quarter.
Flay the leaves open a bit and add a few dabs of butter. If you added enough salt to the water, the cabbage will not need any other seasoning! If you erred on the safe side, you’ll need to sprinkle with salt or you could mash some kosher salt into the butter before serving. Sometimes I’ll pepper it as well, but I usually keep it super-simple and really let the cabbage shine with just salt and butter.
Another serving option is to cut the cooked cabbage into bite-sized pieces after draining it and then tossing butter and seasonings with it in a bowl and serve each portion in a small dish.
Some people don’t like the less-tender (and mostly flavor-less) core and they cut it out before cooking, but I find it helps keep the head together if it’s left in. I like to eat it (it’s healthy!) but if you don’t, just leave that part and eat the outer leaves or cut it right before serving.
I think that’s it, but if you have any questions about how to pick out a good cabbage, cook it, or want some ideas for what to serve it with, let me know in the comments!