Under pressure, this nutritional side dish is made quickly (and without the aroma penetrating the entire house all day)
Cabbage is a cheap New England staple vegetable. In the autumn, you can find heads larger than your own at the farm stands for little money, and the winter co-ops and CSAs offer these local treasures through spring.
Cabbage is a humble vegetable, the base of many classic peasant food dishes world-wide. But it has an impressive nutritional pedigree. One cup of green cabbage is only 22 calories and 5 grams of carbs with almost no fat, but contains high amounts of fiber and Vitamins C and K. Cabbage is also a member of the cruciferous family, having anti-cancer properties.
Local is best, but sometimes you have to be creative
In keeping with your efforts to use as much local produce as possible, even in the winter, you’ve made tons of coleslaw, and you stuffed the larger leaves with vegetables and rice and simmered them in tomato sauce. You made spring rolls, and a large New England boiled dinner, and they were delicious.
But when we think of boiled cabbage, what often comes to mind is a long cook that, shall we say, flavors the entire house for hours. I think this is why my mother used her pressure cooker to prepare “boiled” cabbage – it reduced the whole-house involvement time!
A jiggle and a dance
Of course, hers was the old-fashioned, top of the stove pressure cooker with the little spitting valve on top that jiggled and danced, and whenever she used it (which was often) she always joked about hoping it did not explode. I kept my eye on it.
Well, it never did explode, much to my relief, but she also had to babysit it, fiddling with the heat of the burner off and on so it was just right. It was also kind of noisy.
Requires a babysitter
The pressure cooker that I have used for many years has more safety features, but it is still a top-of-the stove pan that has to be watched over to some extent to keep the heat even.
Enter the electric pressure cooker, the multi-function cooker of today that you can set and walk away from. I must admit, I hesitated a long time before I bought one since I already had my pressure cooker and my slow cooker as well, and because I make use of my oven for a lot of the slower cooks. I also don’t cook a lot of vegetables for long expanses of time, and love to fuss over what I’m cooking, so I was not sure it was for me.
Pulled into the 21st Century
But as the encouragement of my husband, who loves new gadgets, I relented. After the first use, cooking dried beans, I discovered the advantages to this electric appliance – I can set whatever I am pressure cooking, even preset it to start at a later time, and walk away from it until it is done. It is also really quiet! I might not use it a lot, but when I make my husband his split pea soup, it can be ready in less than an hour and not a whole day!
I won’t be using this every night, but it is an improvement in technology and thus I will happily embrace it.
And making the cabbage is really fast, with less whole-house involvement.
Cabbage and Carrots with Caraway
I love the flavor of caraway seeds! They are a great accompaniment to cabbage, and the cinnamon adds a nice little warmth to the dish.
1/2 large cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, sliced
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8 to 10 sprigs of thyme (or half teaspoon of dried)
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
Place all the ingredients in the electric pressure cooker and seal. That is pretty much it. Set the pressure timer on medium to cook for 6 to 8 minutes once it has come up to pressure, depending on how soft you want the cabbage. I like the shorter amount of time, but others might like it cooked longer. Once ready, use the quick release of the steam so it stops cooking under pressure.
When ready, remove the thyme stems.
Top with a little more butter, some fresh parsley, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice and serve as a side dish, or a one-dish meal topped with an egg.
If there is a fair amount of liquid in the pot, save it for a snack or lunch drink!
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen