½ head of cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup lentils
¼ cup brown rice
½ cup parsley
1 teaspoon caraway
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
pinch of nutmeg
One of my favorite vegetables is cabbage. As with cauliflower, or maybe even worse, it has been underestimated and ignored, its loyal fans have been ridiculed and finally, the cabbage seems almost forgotten by the world, except in its form as sauerkraut on a Reuben sandwich.
To begin with, cabbage goes extremely well with beer. As you may have realized if you've read my blog so far, I love reviving traditions, and - counter-intuitively - beer has been one of the traditional staples during lent. The pope himself decreed it a suitably horrible drink in times of fasting (he might have forgotten to consider that beer looses a lot of its appeal after an unrefrigerated transport across the alps!). Especially doppelbock, a very strong, malty beer that it also called liquid bread, has nourished generations during lent and mercifully eased the pains of an empty stomach (and maybe my sugar cravings? was very close to a moment of weakness last night, but so far have prevailed!).
Returning to the praises of cabbage, besides being a wonderful companion to beer, even the New York Times rightfully reinstated the glories of this cheap, incredibly versatile and utterly delicious vegetable, and trying to stick to my resolution to eat less meat, I have decided to make a conscious effort to eat more of this vegetable, trying old recipes handed down from my grandmother, and experimenting with new ones that might take us to a whole new level.
This cabbage dish, a vegetarian spring stew, falls into the former category, putting the flavor of the cabbage on a gentle background of caraway and paprika, creating a very simple yet delectable and light combination. And it might be the healthiest dish on this blog so far, combining the vitamins of the cabbage with brown rice and the protein of the lentils. So beware, you might actually start falling for healthy food!
In a Dutch Oven, start with browning the onion and garlic in a little bit of butter. After around 5 minutes, add in the lentils and rice until they are covered with butter, then cover with water and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the temperature and put in the spices and parsley, and also the cabbage. Simmer for about 30 minutes, adding more water as needed and to reach the desired liquidity. Finally, season with salt and pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar, depending on your taste.
So pour yourself a nice stein of doppelbock and enjoy. If you've made too much, it will taste even better on the second day.
Life is good!