Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chou Rouge... (Red Cabbage to Americans)

I have, once again, graced the blog with a "foreign food". I don't mean Alien. That purple mass of spice and perfectly balanced flavor is indeed out of this world, but it didn't fly here. Look at it, it would have burned up in the atmosphere...an left charred little purple bits of confetti falling from the ski. Talk about a red dawn. No, this is actually a recipe from my "Adventures in French Cooking" book by Myriam Guidroz. I tweaked it. A lot. Once again this is getting to be a habit. Original recipe called for an apple, bacon, and lard. I cut the bacon and lard--very non-French thing to do I know. I also substituted a firm pear for the apple. That wasn't because I was being fancy...I was just out of apples. Total lack of planning will get me somewhere someday. Oh my...that last phrase was deeeeep.

We actually had this for dinner the night of the Evil Think Tank with Tara (Tara's Toasted Pound Cake with Almond Cream Sauce) ...oh look at me listing dessert first. That was purely subconscious, but now making me snort a little. Y'all really need to hear me giggle at least once. It's a totally professional and proper way to teach. Really. The main course (see, I can stay on topic...sometimes) was Solar Cooked Fire and Rain Barley Pilaf and some killer Shallot Herb Roasted Pork with Lemon Cream Sauce a... . It was a nice meal. Good company. Evil Think Tank. Tara loved the cabbage and asked me to blog it for sure. True to my oath...which I take none too seriously...

Chou Rouge (My Braised Red Cabbage with Pears)
1/2 head red cabbage, sliced thin
1 pear, very firm , peeled and chopped
1/2 white onion, sliced thin
4 slices of cooked bacon (instead, I used a few drops of liquid smoke to cut out the fat--and it is also a good vegetarian substitute for that smokey flavor)
1/4 cup cranberry juice (or dry red wine if you cook with wine)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
salt and pepper
pinch of thyme
bay leaf
dash of ground clove
1T sugar (or 2 Splenda packets. Do what you need to do.)
2 tsp minced fresh thyme (reserved for the last 3 minutes of cooking)
1 tsp olive oil, for cooking.
Chop up the cabbage and onion and all that...

In a large heavy bottomed (oh please help me not to talk about my heavy bottom...) pan. See, I said pan. It must have a lid that fits it tightly as well. Get that lid out. Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft then add all remaining ingredients except for the cranberry juice (or wine).

Cover an cook over a very low temperature. At first the cabbage will render quite a bit of juice. Don't add water. When it cooks down enough and seems to be getting dry, add the juice or wine. Because this is so low fat...you may need to add a little more water to keep it from sticking if it seems to get that way. Don't go crazy though. It's not the red sea...red cabbage. Different.

This recipe calls for fresh thyme. I squealed to find (well not out loud...I try to contain myself in public as a general rule) this thyme on sale. It's the simple blessings really, and I did take a minute to thank the Lord. It's been a long time since I had fresh thyme.

Keep stirring the cabbage once in a while. The original recipe said cook for 2 hours. Um...I don't want to sound crazy here, but I do like to have a little more texture to my cabbage. If you want to do it the true French way...continue to cook and stir for 2 hours. This is where I think this is a great recipe for a crock pot or Solar Oven . Just left uncovered in the solar oven without stirring would give a very similar effect.
I didn't cook for 2 hours. Sorry. It was more like 40 minutes give or take. I was cooking the Pork at the same time so I wasn't really keeping exact track. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and if necessary the sugar (little honey would work if you don't want refined sugars...hi Angela-Nature-mama). Honestly...the cookbook said not to refrigerate the cabbage for 24 hours. I don't agree with that. I think it would be unsafe. Personally I'd rather ere on the side of my kids not throwing up...especially red cabbage. Why did I say that? Who will want to make cabbage now? Sorry folks. I should be a lot more serious...but that would be so boring! Please come back. I promise no more yucky stuff.

That being said, please make the cabbage anyway. It is delicious!

Weight Watchers...eat the whole pan for only 5 points (It makes 6 cups)...or have one cup for one point. It's a good deal.

There you go.


Destrehan's Daughter said...

It's neat to see someone still cooking with her recipes. I am one of her granddaughters.

Chef Tess said...

What a great book it is too! She made me feel like I was in France.