Every Braised Cabbage recipe I run across lists non-Paleo ingredients. Usually brown sugar and apple juice. I'm trying like heck to add more cabbage to the family's diet. Anyone have a paleo Braised Cabbage recipe that they've actually tested?
My favorite cabbage recipe was always to fry chopped bacon and onion, add cabbage and cook until it's soft and soaked up most of the grease. For those who need/want more sweet, add unsweetened applesauce or plain grated apple, maybe with a dash of apple cider vinegar. I don't specify proportions because this is all to taste, but I usually ended up using about a pound of bacon per head of cabbage.
Bacon fat (with or without chopped bacon), whatever aromatics I have handy (garlic, onion, shallot), and a little vinegar (usually balsamic, but sometimes red wine or cider) work just fine for me for all kinds of cabbage, bitter greens, etc. I did Swiss chard that way last night, and it was fantastic.
Wow, that's a weird coincidence... I just made braised red cabbage last night!
I cut some yellow onion then carmelized it in lard, added cabbage, low-sugar apple sauce (can be hard to find; I got it at Whole Foods), red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Simmer for an hour. Came out great! No brown sugar, and IMO it didn't seem to need any more sweetness. I agree with Anna that stevia is preferably to brown sugar, but personally I like to avoid all sweeteners. If it really needed something I might have thrown in a few juniper berries as it was cooking.
I'll try! Thinly dice half a large onion for one head of cabbage. Simmer the onion in a pan with your paleo preference (butter, ghee, lard) until it starts to turn a little gold in color.
In the meantime, cut the cabbage into four pieces, cut out the stem, and dice into thin pieces. They don't have to be tiny, but large uncut chunks are just more awkward to eat. If the onions were browing in a pan deep enough to hold the cabbage, just throw everything in there, or move the oinions and cabbage into a larger pot.
A few splashes each of red vinegar and apple cider vinegar, and about 1 - 1.5 cups of unsweetened apple sauce. (Sorry for not having precise measurements, I often cook by look and feel.) Sea salt, pepper and about a teaspoon or a little more of ground nutmeg... depending on how big the cabbage was.
Let the liquid in the mixture come to a mild boil over medium heat, then turn it low and let it simmer gently, stirring now and then, for about an hour.
For really good red cabbage you need a little sweetness (Stevia or Sucralose), something sour (wine vinegar) and some really good fat (duck fat rules supreme, bacon grease is pretty good too). Using the fat from the start hugely reduces the cooking time and makes the vitamins easier to absorb. Adding an onion for extra flavour is optional, either whole and spiked with cloves or chopped and sauteed in the fat. For additional spices think mulled wine or pumpkin pie: Cinnamon, allspice, mace, nutmeg even ginger work well but are best kept down to a subtle blend. As a final touch a little extra fruitiness from a few tablespoons of orange juice or a chopped apple works well.
I just realized you were asking about cabbage in general. Who the hell would add sugar to green cabbage? Savoy cabbage sauteed with pancetta is one of my other favourites. Chop a generous amount of pancetta or bacon and fry it until it's translucent. Add the sliced cabbage and just a couple of tablespoons of water (the water from washing is enough if you are hygiene obsessed) then put on a tight fitting lid so that it mostly steams and stir it through at the end.
Sorry, don't have a recipe for braised cabbage (though me, I'd probably try braising it in some nice beef stock and make it more savory). Just wanted to suggest another way of using cabbage: cabbage rolls (I grew up in Pittsburgh; we called these pigs-in-a-blanket).
Traditional cabbage rolls include rice in the stuffing, but it'd be easy enough to make a paleo substitute of some veggies or even just go all meat.
Don't have a recipe for braised cabbage, but yesterday, I slow-cooked some beef flap meat in butter and, when that was done, cooked two heads of Savoy (thin chop) in the drippings on the stovetop with a handful of flat leaf parsley. Plain, simple, delicious.
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