During the dead of winter in Sharon Springs, mealtimes can get a little uninspiring. The final vestiges of last summer’s garden in the root cellar consist of a few unusably-soft potatoes with sprouts as long as spider legs, some equally spongy onions, jars and jars of tomato sauce (on which we’ve long since OD’d,) and…wait…what’s that lurking in the corner by the pickles? In one of the bushel baskets we stashed away until next year’s bounty? It’s…it’s….sheild your eyes…colorful!
Yes, color is notably absent from mid-winter foodstuffs. But because we sow our garden continuously throughout the growing season, one of the last crops we’re fortunate enough to harvest is cabbage. And one of our favorite varieties of cabbage is Mammoth Red Rock. (Seeds available here.) This bright red/purple variety seems to store almost as well as it’s hardier green cousins, so we usually have a serviceable head or two sitting on our basement until late January.
But whether purple or green, when cabbage is boiled or sauteed it’s as blah and mushy as a cloud covered winter day. We like a little crispness in our cabbage, even if it’s not exactly coleslaw weather outside. Our solution? Broil it in a super hot oven or broiler. Not too long. just enough to get a little burnt edges before it collapses into its usually mush. Part of the leaves should still be raw and crunchy. Then toss is with flavorful sausage, sweet orange/white wine sauce, and some chunky homemade croutons for even more crunch.
For a minute you might even forget that winter isn’t even half over and all you have left in the basement are tarantula potatoes.
Recipe after the slide show. Let us know in the comment section what ingredients cheer you up midwinter.
Beekman 1802 Simple Sausage and Purple Cabbage.
1/4 large head purple cabbage (or 1/2 of small head.)
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for coating croutons)
1 lb hot italian sausage, sliced into 1 inch rounds (use very sharp knife to keep cut through skin without smushing.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 oranges, zested and juiced (keep zest separate from juice.)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/3 cup chopped, fresh parsley
four thick slices of rustic white or sourdough bread
salt, pepper to taste
Preheat broiler. Carefully cut purple cabbage into 1/2 inch slices. place slices in one layer on roast-proof baking sheet or broiling pan. Broil for approximate 4-6 minutes or until some outer edges have burnt. Do not over-broil or cabbage will become too soft.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, toss with olive oil to coat, and bake for 12-18 minutes until browned, turning occasionally to prevent uneven burning.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add sausage rounds and saute over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked through and browned. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate. In same pan, add chopped onions and saute over medium-high until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add white wine, orange juice, and raisins to pan with onions, and simmer until slightly reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Plate cabbage first then top with sausage and croutons. Pour sauce over plate, and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and orange zest.