molly stevens’ best braised cabbage

I own a lot of cookbooks, so it takes quite a bit for me to become so enamored with a cookbook that I make several recipes from it within the span of a few months.  But that’s exactly what happened when I purchased All About Braising by Molly Stevens a couple years ago.  The fact that I haven’t written more about it here is partly due to “blogger backlog” and partly because I made some of the recipes before I started blogging.  Please believe me when I say, though, that this cookbook ranks in my top 5 for many reasons, not least of which is this cabbage.  I first made it for a St. Patrick’s Day potluck, partly because cabbage is traditional but also because I was kind of broke and cabbage is really cheap!  To my surprise, the dish went over like gangbusters- who knew?!  I had never heard cabbage described as “amazing” before; I even had a professed cabbage-hater tell me they liked it.  Long braising makes the cabbage melt-in-your-mouth tender, and a blast of heat at the end of cooking caramelizes the dish and brings out all its mellow sweetness.

I’ll go on a little bit of a tangent here to tell you about the other reasons I love All About Braising, since I probably won’t ever get around to giving this book its own separate “review” entry.  First of all, the recipes are solid.  I have made five or six of them and not had any duds or problems whatsoever.  Secondly, it’s very eclectic- there’s a great variety of recipes inspired from all over the world.  I’ve made the Chicken Do-Piaza, Chicken with Star Anise, and Goan Chicken, and all were stellar.  (Yes, I do eat meats other than chicken; I also used Molly’s recipe as a guide when making these oxtails.)  The only recipe I didn’t absolutely love was an Indian-style braised cauliflower (I found it to be a little lean), but that could also have something to do with the fact that cauliflower is not a favorite of mine.

Back to our cabbage- this is one of those dishes that you make and think to yourself “Why have I not been cooking this for years?”  I made a roast chicken the other day and, along with some leftover butternut squash & sage risotto, this was a perfect rustic side dish.  If you’re having a big holiday spread, this would be a great addition since it only takes a few minutes active prep, yields a lot, and works out to about 25¢ per serving (take that, Wal-Mart!).  I wanted to post it before Thanksgiving and didn’t have time, but really it’s a good side dish for any winter meal.

Molly Stevens’ Best Braised Cabbage (from All About Braising)
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The only deviation I have made from Molly’s recipe is that I don’t bother turning the cabbage over halfway through the cooking time like she does.  The first time I made it, I forgot to do it, and found that it made no difference whatsoever; the cabbage was still perfectly cooked throughout.  Seasoning on both sides prior to cooking also eliminates the need to flip.

1 green cabbage, approx. 2 lbs (ok if it’s over)
1 carrot
1 medium to large onion (about 8 oz.)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock or water for vegan version)
sea salt, pepper, & dried red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 325°.  Core your cabbage; if it weighs over 2 lbs, remove a wedge or two and reserve for another use.  Cut the remainder into 8 wedges.  Peel carrot and cut it into coins.  Peel and slice the onion into ¼-inch-thick rings.

Brush a 9 x 13 baking dish with a little of the olive oil.  Season the cabbage wedges with salt & pepper on both sides and place into the baking dish, overlapping them slightly.  Scatter the carrots and onions over the top.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Drizzle the remainder of the olive oil over the vegetables, and pour the ¼ cup stock or water into the bottom of the dish, tilting slightly to distribute.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours.  Check after an hour or so to make sure the pan is not dry; if it is, add a small amount of water or stock.

After 2 hours, remove the foil and increase the heat to 425°.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cabbage begins to caramelize and brown a little on top.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on top (I like to use the chunky kind) and serve.

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9 responses to “molly stevens’ best braised cabbage

  1. I’ll try this! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Oh thank you! I (still) have a Tantre farm share cabbage sitting in the fridge that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with. Now I know!

  3. I am absolutely going to make this. I love cabbage! Love the quick prep and then putting it in the oven and forgetting about it for a while. Sounds perfect for a blustery weekend when you don’t want to leave the house.

    Is there something obvious I could substitute for the carrots, or do you think it would be a big deal to leave them out? Sadly, as much as I want to, I just don’t like cooked carrots.

    • I don’t always love cooked carrots either on their own, but I liked the little bit of sweetness they added in this dish. I’d say maybe make it with, and then pick around them if you don’t like them? 😛 Also, I think I used more carrots than the recipe calls for the last time I made it, so what you see in the photo may not be accurate as far as how many carrots are actually in the dish.

  4. There was an incident in my childhood when I was forced to eat them and ended up getting sick (traumatizing!) and I’ve hated them ever since. I’ve tried them countless ways because I want to like them, but I just don’t. I was thinking picking around them would be my best option too.

  5. Linda Pfeifer (Noelle's mom)

    I will definitely try this, since it is so simple and I do like cabbage.

  6. (from Aunt Susanne)
    Hello, Mademoiselle! I loved reading about the venison ragu recipe. I was in Italy this fall and we had ragu bolognese and wild boar ragu as well. Like you, I enjoy Molly Stevens’ cookbook about braising. I even went to her cooking class at the Epicurean Classic up here in TC a few years ago and found it inspiring enough to buy her braising book on the spot.

  7. Cool recipes from all over the world. Create meals that will wow your friends and family over? Don’t reinvent the wheel, make proper use of it!

  8. Wow! And just when I thought I’ve seen it all, a cabbage casserole pops up :). I’ve got to try that, thanks for the recipe.

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