So upon my return to Albany, my roommate gifted the apartment with a $0.03 cabbage. Yes, someone sold an entire head of cabbage for a measly $0.03. So the theme of the night became cabbage.
You thought I was kidding, weren’t you?
Cabbage and I have an interesting relationship. Basically, I like eating cabbage, but I never know what to do with it when I need to cook it. More often than not, the only thing I eat with cabbage in it is cole slaw, spring rolls, and the traditional corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Other common cabbage uses include like stuffed cabbage, deconstructed stuffed cabbage, or stuffed cabbage stew. So after a lot of futile searching on the internet for something to do with this vegetable, I finally decided to wing it.
As with most cabbage dishes, you never need the whole head of cabbage. Obviously. So not only did I get to ponder what to do with a whole head of cabbage once, I got to do it a second time (but that will come later). As for cabbage preparation, this is much easier than if I were making a cole slaw.
So all cabbage (but here I have some green cabbage) has this really inconvenient core in the center of it. You can’t eat that part and so you have to cut it out. All I do is make two cuts around the core to make a triangle and then rip it out. It wastes a bit of the cabbage, but it’s easier than trying to carve out the core.
Then I just cut the cabbage into thick strips. It doesn’t need to be a super fine chop like a cole slaw because this stuff is going to cook down a lot.
Then there’s the rest of the vegetables for this stew. I like using onions, carrot, bell pepper, and parsnips. Typical soup bases use carrots, onions, and celery, but I didn’t like the idea of celery in this dish. I guess it could be added or I suppose a little bit of celery salt could be added in (a spice I don’t personally own). Anyway, I chose green bell pepper because of the nice color contrast. The stew will end up being a reddish orange color so I opted out of the red or orange bell pepper, but if looks are not a concern use a pepper of your choosing. Finally, the parsnips. I just really like parsnips, they’re such a good root vegetable that are similar in texture to carrots. They really have no other point in being in the stew save that I really like them. Not a very good reason, but what the hell do I care?
I dice the onions and bell pepper into nice bite sized pieces and slice the carrots and parsnips into little disks. Make sure none of these piece are huge because you don’t want to have to be cutting vegetables while eating stew.
For the meat, I used sausage (since it’s called sausage and cabbage stew it seems only fitting). I would’ve preferred a kielbasa or other similar type of sausage, but my store doesn’t carry that. Here I used a hot italian sausage. Sweet italian sausage would be a little weird here, so that would be the only one I don’t suggest. In retrospect, I should’ve gotten an Andouille.
Heat some oil in your stock pot (a one pot meal here, extra bonus) and brown the sausage on both sides. This will get some nice flavor into the oil which will help us build a nice soup base. After browning them, take them out and slice them.
Then I add all of the vegetables into the pot. To the vegetables, I add a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper.
Cook this down until the onions are translucent and then add in the garlic. After the garlic gets a little bit aromatic, I add in some paprika and the rice. I like to toast rice before it gets cooked into stews or soups because it lets the rice cook faster. Once the rice is toasted (which typically takes only 2 or 3 minutes) I add the cabbage and sausage into the pot and give it a good stir.
Now it’s time for the liquids. I pour in beef broth, a little bit of water, diced tomatoes with their juice, and a bit of tomato paste. To that, I put in a couple of bay leaves for the cooking process.
Bring this to a boil, reduce heat to medium low or low, and cook for 30-45 minutes. You have to make sure to stir it every once in a while, otherwise the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn, not good. After it boils for the allotted time, I add in a bit of heavy cream and fresh parsley to finish it off.
I don’t cook it for much longer after that, maybe ten minutes or so. Or you can just turn off the heat and cover it until it needs to be served. The heavy cream will thicken it a bit more and really transform it from a soup into a stew. If you don’t like the unhealthy idea of heavy cream, it can be served without it, I just like the creaminess it adds to everything.
Sausage and Cabbage Stew
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs margarine
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- 2 carrot, sliced
- 1 parsnip, sliced
- ½ head green cabbage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 oz sausage (hot Italian)
- 1 cup rice
- 1 tbs paprika
- ½ can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat
- Brown whole sausages on both sides, remove from pan and slice
- Reduce heat to medium and add margarine, onions, carrots, parsnips, and bell pepper to the pan and saute for 5-8 minutes or until onions are translucent
- Add rice and paprika, cook for another 2-3 minutes
- Add garlic and cabbage, cook for another minute or until cabbage starts to wilt
- Add sausage back to the pot
- Pour in diced tomatoes, beef broth, water, and tomato paste
- Add bay leaves and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add heavy cream and parsley and cook for another 10 minutes