The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Sausage Rope with Braised Cabbage

February 15th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Posted in Recipes

We love braised cabbage

We love braised cabbage

Sometimes dinner is just a happy convergence of ingredients lying around. With our weekly dairy delivery, we always include a rope of pork sausage. Besides meats from its beef herd, South Mountain Creamery offers a selection gathered from other local farmers. The sausage is one of the consistently good products we like. Finding a different way to prepare it from week to week can be a challenge.

This week I had my eye on the remnants of a cabbage lurking in the crisper drawer, as well as two leeks that were doing nothing but getting older sitting out on the counter top. Hence this dish with German roots, easy to make in a heavy pot and quicker than I expected. Have I mentioned that I love braised cabbage?

First, peel an onion and cut it into thin slices. Drop it into a heavy pot with about 3 tablespoons bacon grease (or extra-virgin olive oil) over moderate heat. Stir in two medium leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into bite-size pieces. (After trimming the dark green leaves, I usually cut the leek down the middle to wash, so your pieces will be half-moons.) Season with 1 teaspoon salt and sweat the onions and leeks with the pot covered until soft, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, core and roughly chop 1 small head cabbage. Stir this into the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon (or more) carraway seeds. I would probably use more, but my wife complains that I am heavy-handed with the caraway. Add about 1/4 cup German beer vinegar. This is the amount we just happened to have left in a bottle that we bought on a visit to Morse’s sauerkraut factory and store in Waldoboro, Maine, three years ago. It’s great stuff, although you could substitute cider vinegar or even white wine vinegar if you don’t have the German beer vinegar.

The salt will pull plenty of  liquid out of the cabbage and onions, enough to braise the vegetables. But if it seems too dry, add a splash of white wine or beer. (Optional: carrots. We had a bag of those goofy “baby carrots” that daughter likes in her lunch box, so I threw in a few of those as well.)

While the cabbage is braising, sear the sausage rope on both sides over high heat in your cast-iron skillet. If the only thing you have are some brats, by all means use those. When the cabbage is done (ours was just fine after 30 minutes), add the sausage to the pot to finish cooking–just a few minutes will be sufficient.

Serve warm with a glass of your favorite  Riesling.

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