Late summer is time to set out the second planting of cabbage in the home garden. The cool season vegetable provides us with two fresh crops a year and plenty to preserve for the in-between months. Even if you don’t grow your own cabbage heads, the cheap cost at the supermarket and farmer’s market make it a nutritious meal-stretcher. But if shredding a batch of cole slaw is the only way you know how to serve fresh cabbage, the cheap veggie would get boring very quickly. Stock up (or plant) on a few inexpensive heads of cabbage this fall and try these four serving suggestions.
Bacon Sautéed Cabbage
I know, I had you at ‘bacon’. Any cut of pork pairs well with cabbage and you can’t go wrong with bacon. Fry up a few slices of bacon, drain and set aside. While bacon is frying, thinly slice a red onion and rough chop a head of cabbage. After bacon is removed from skillet, add red onion slices and sauté for five minutes in the bacon grease until the onions caramelize.
Remove onions from skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil and chopped cabbage to skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes. Return onions to skillet to heat through, spoon onto serving platter and top with crumbled bacon (and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if desired).
Boiled Cabbage with Ham
This is a great way to use up bits of leftover ham (tenderloin, pork roast, fatback etc.). Half cabbage head and remove core, then rough chop and place in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Dice bits of ham (or other pork) and add to cooking cabbage. Cook until cabbage reaches desired tenderness (10-20 minutes). Pour off some of the cooking liquid if needed and serve this one pot meal with hot cornbread and pinto beans.
Roasted Cabbage with Apples
Pair another fall food with the cabbage to add sweetness (and sneak in another serving of fruit to your family. Cut cabbage head in half and remove core, then cut each half into three wedges. Quarter your favorite apple variety and remove core. Place cabbage wedges and apple quarters cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and top with toasted pecans or walnuts.
Cabbage and Bean Soup
Chop a red onion and 2-3 potatoes. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauce pan, add onion and potatoes and sauté until they just begin to soften. Add minced garlic to taste (2-4 cloves), a pinch of red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons of thyme. Rough chop half a head of cabbage and add to the pot along with 1 can of cooked white beans. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover; simmer 20 minutes over low heat. Salt and pepper to taste.