Savoy cabbage falls into a big cruciferous family of vegetables, together with arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, and turnips. Savoy cabbage has layers of leaves surrounded by a core, which is not edible. The flowers have four petals arranged in the shape of a cross, which is why this group became known as cruciferous vegetables. Cabbage is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, with recorded usage by the Celtic civilizations and the Greeks and Romans. Cruciferous vegetables are among the most nutritious foods we can consume. Savoy cabbage contains iron, calcium, magnesium, choline, copper, folate, and fiber. Cabbage is the world’s most popular vegetable, but in the US, we eat only one-fifth as much as people in eastern Europe, where in the not-too-distant past, it was one of the few vegetables available in the winter time (together with onions, beets, and potatoes and root vegetables). Savoy cabbage is perhaps the least known cruciferous vegetable in the US. When selecting any type of crucifer, look for a compact head that is firm and heavy for its size. After being harvested, cabbage keeps nutrients longer than Brussels sprouts and broccoli, so it lasts longer in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. But with all vegetables, the sooner you eat them, the more flavorful they will be.
Here is a beautiful, fresh savoy cabbage and other vegetables my husband picked up a couple of weeks ago at a Saturday farmers’ market. To learn why freshly bought and organic vegetables can be more nutritious, read more here.
Cooked Savoy Cabbage
- 1 head Savoy cabbage
- 1/4 tsp Caraway seeds
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 large Potatoes (peeled & cubed)
- Ham hock (optional)
- 4 Tbs Fat (in this recipe I use avocado oil or pork lard)
- 4 Tbs All-purpose flour
- During the Covid quarantine, since we could not meet in person our usual Friday evenings, as we have been doing for years, my French friend Maude and I had regular Friday zoom cooking lessons. I taught her how to make savoy cabbage on this day. Maud is a vegetarian, so she skipped using the ham hock in her recipe.
- With along knife, cut savoy cabbage in half and cut out the inner core with a “V” shape cut.
- Remove any outside leaves that are wilted or brown. Slice the cabbage evenly, place it in a pot, and add hot water, caraway seeds, and garlic.
- The cabbage will reduce as it cooks down. Cook on a slow boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
Makinga White Roux
- While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the roux by melting 4 Tbs of fat in a heavy-bottomed pan, add in 4 Tbsof flour and stir while cooking over medium heat until the roux is bubbly and the raw flour taste is gone, but the roux is still pale, about 2-3 minutes. Learn more roux-making tips in this recipe.
- Ham hocks are available at local farmers’ markets without nitrites (if you are concerned about this) and at certain grocers. Heritage varieties of pigs are also available from local farmers who raise them to help prevent their extinction. Heritage breads have a unique taste and flavor profiles and different fatty acid content. The ham hocks should be cooked separately from the cabbage. To shorten the cooking time, I cook mine in a pressure cooker or one pot. It takes about 20 minutes. Remove the cooked hocks from the bone, cut the meat into cubes, and add to the cooked savoy cabbage.
- When the savoy cabbage is soft, add the roux and cut up the ham hock if using. Omit the ham hock to make this a vegetarian dish. The finished dish has a bright green color, and the cooked savoy cabbage tastes sweet.
Vegetables: 250 bold, simple recipes for every season by Christopher Kimball, J. M. Hirsch, Michelle Locke, Matthew Card and Diane Unger
Call Number: 641.65 KIMBALL
Publication Date: 2021
In my kitchen: a collection of new and favorite vegetarian recipes by Deborah Madison and Erin Scott
Call Number: 641.5636 MADISON
Publication Date: 2017
Call Number: 635 MATTUS
Call Number: 641.65 POTOCK
Publication Date: 2018
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