Modern culinary wisdom decrees that cabbage should no longer be cooked for long periods of time. Those of us who grew up with the smell of cabbage permeating our homes during those bouts of cabbage cooking were thrilled by this edict. However, there are exceptions to almost every rule and this recipe is one of them. The cabbage here is oven braised for a good two hours, plus an additional browning period. Granted, this method is not the same as the submerged cabbage bubbling away on the stove top, and the smell is actually quite pleasant, even gustatory. This is a perfect dish for the long, cold winter we’re having.
1 medium head green or red cabbage, about 2 pounds
1 large yellow or red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 – 3 medium to large carrots, peeled if necessary and sliced
1/3 c broth, stock, white wine, or water, plus extra if needed
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 t caraway seeds
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 T red balsamic vinegar, optional (but really makes this dish)
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a large casserole dish or baking pan, such as a 9″ x 13″ pan.
2. Trim cabbage, then cut in half. Cut each half into quarters, for a total of eight wedges. Leave the core intact, to retain the shape of the wedges. Place wedges in prepared baking dish, in a single layer if possible, or slightly overlapping. Scatter the onions wedges and carrot slices around the wedges. Pour the liquid and oil over all. Sprinkle caraway seeds and crushed red pepper flakes over. Season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil.
3. Place in oven and braise for an hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and turn vegetables over. Try to keep the wedges intact if you can, but don’t worry if they fall apart. This is more an aesthetic consideration. Add a bit more liquid if needed. Cover again and return pan to oven for another hour.
4. Check the cabbage again. If it’s tender enough for you, then raise the oven temperature to 400ºF. Drizzle, if you like, the balsamic vinegar over the cabbage and return to oven for about 15 more minutes, until the vegetables start to brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.