Photo credit Alex J Harris
Cruciferous vegetables, super nutrient rich veggies that include cabbages and Brussel Sprouts, often get a bad rap. They are regularly cooked for far too long, which makes them look really un-appetising and taste even less so. However, with a bit of imagination, these are amongst the easiest and tastiest vegetables to prepare, plus they are incredibly good for you. Don’t believe it? Stick with me.
Even I was a bit reluctant to embrace that least loved of veggies, the Brussel sprout. An attempt to get my son to eat them when he was little by calling them baby cabbages meant he enjoyed them so much that he began asking me to buy them more and more. They were not my favourite vegetable and I was decidedly reluctant to do that. However, I discovered that lightly cooked, ‘baby cabbages’ really are incredibly delicious, and they have become a family favourite. Just steam them lightly for no more than about five or six minutes, or slice them thinly and add them to a stir fry. They are wonderful.
As for cabbages, there is so much more you can do to them that turning them into coleslaw or boiling them. They are wonderful stir fried, and it is well worth stepping out of your comfort zone to try different varieties of cabbage – there are so many different sorts, not just white, green and red. Among my favourites are Savoy cabbage and Pointed Cabbage (more romantically known as Sweetheart Cabbage). You don’t want to miss the health benefits of these wonderful vegetables, which include phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
I recently discovered another way to cook cabbage, that makes it taste even more delicious. The cooking time can vary depending on the sort of cabbage you use and how big it is, but it’s easy to tell when it is done as the cabbage wedges are tender crisp and delicious, and ever so slightly burnished brown on top.
It couldn’t be easier to make this wonderful side dish, perfect with veggie sausages, or just about anything else for that matter.
To serve four to six people you need:
1 large green cabbage, any variety but Savoy works particularly well
1½ cups of vegetable stock
¼ cup Madeira or sherry (optional, but so good!)
a couple of pinches of salt (depending on how salty your stock is)
¼ teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 400℉ (about 200℃).
Remove any very tough outer leaves from the cabbage and wash the outside, patting dry with a clean tea towel. Cut the cabbage in chunky wedges. (I start with quarters and depending on how big the cabbage is, go from there.) Don’t remove the cabbage ‘heart’ as it will help hold the leaves together, but if it is quite thick, you can trim it down a bit. Place the cabbage wedges on their sides in a roasting dish.
Gently heat the stock together with the Madeira or sherry (if using). Season to taste and then pour it over the cabbage wedges in the roasting dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and take the aluminum foil off. Carefully turn the cabbage wedges on to their other side. Return the pan to the oven and roast for about 10 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender crisp and slightly burnished.
Remove the wedges from the pan, draining them as you do so, and serve alongside your choice of main dish.