Here’s a rustic, hearty, fall/winter supper that also happens to be vegan, if you use tempeh bacon like I did. (Of course, you could use the pork product of your choosing — bacon, pancetta, speck, etc.) I like this as a quick meal by itself, but on those occasions when I have more time to spend in the kitchen, it also makes a fantastic accompaniment to roasted duck.
The cabbage is sliced into ribbons and cooked in the same skillet you use to cook leeks and the tempeh bacon, so it’s slicked with those oils and flavors. Generous additions of cumin seeds, grated fresh horseradish, and black pepper add really interesting dimensions of flavor. And a final squeeze of lemon brightens the whole.
The trick here is to choose a wine that won’t be overwhelmed or clash with the horseradish. And the cabbage, for that matter, ‘cuz really what the horseradish does is amp-up the cabbaginess of the cabbage. In summer (and yes, I do love cabbage and wild rice year-round), I might just grab a cold pale ale to go with. But somehow in fall, I want red wine. The one that works best for me with this dish is Dolcetto. I think it must be that youthful, forward tangy brightness that Dolcetto typically offers, with its nearly-tart berry fruit and zing. If you’ve managed to roast a duck to go with, as noted above, then by all means, reach for a Pinot Noir. The fattiness of the duck will help tame the cabbage/horseradish. But with just the wild rice as a partner, try the Dolcetto. Here’s one I enjoyed recently:
Bersano 2010 Dolcetto d’Alba Coldelfosso ($20). Classic example of the grape, with all its bright, tart red berry, blueberry, and dried floral and herb notes. Find it!
Recipe: Cumin-spiced Cabbage
1 medium head (about 2 pounds) white cabbage
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices tempeh bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 leek, cleaned, white part thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
kosher salt to taste
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core, and slice the cabbage quarters into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and tempeh and saute until tempeh is lightly browned along the edges and the leek is cooked through. Add the cumin seeds and horseradish and toss to mix. Add the cabbage and toss to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft, about 20 minutes or more. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve with wild rice.
Serves 2-3 as a main, 4-6 as a side.