The prepare dinner at my college was an aged girl in twilight blue floor-length costume with white pinny over it named Fanny who had been within the kitchen ever since she had left college herself. When she turned 80, a significant British nationwide got here to interview her. They did it once more when she turned 90. She was persuaded to retire when she turned 93 because the steps right down to her basement lair have been fabricated from stone worn by centuries of scraping toes and harmful to even the youngest pupil who made a manner right down to the stinking eating room.

It stank, as did the remainder of the varsity, of slowly stewed cabbage. Each Monday and Wednesday, all of the years of our scholastic lives, Fanny and her crew cooked us cabbage-meat-and-potato. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we had salad-meat-and-potato. On Fridays, the most effective day, we had sausage-beans-and-potato. All of it reeked of stewed cabbage, even Friday’s deal with. 

In the event you’re British, it’s possible you have got an identical expertise in your individual previous. It’s odd that of all of the foodstuffs we’re reputed as a nation to abuse, the cabbage is among the greens most straightforward to prepare dinner and – in different cuisines – revered and made completely scrumptious.

Lately, although, cabbage has been having fun with a culinary renaissance, notably the Hispi selection, that pointed coronary heart -shaped cabbage whose Instagram influencers adore it minimize in quarters and charred. It’s pretty much as good blanched for a few minutes in salted water then stirred into very buttery mashed potato for colcannon, the Irish dish, as it’s finely sliced and spiced up by shortly sauteeing it with as a lot finely chopped garlic, chilli and ginger as you want then dobbing it with soy sauce earlier than serving. Both of those go nicely with a grilled fillet of salmon or a pork chop, or the latter model simply with steamed brown rice.

However the frequent white Dutch soccer cabbage makes a great sweet-and-sour model, glorious as a facet dish with nearly any meat. Finely shred it. Warmth up a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or deep saute pan, throw within the cabbage and stir it about shortly to coat it, then toss over 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of vinegar that you simply’ve beforehand blended collectively in a small glass. Toss all this collectively shortly in order to protect the crunch, then serve.

In South West France, nevertheless, it is best to consolation your self over the method of winter with its famend Garbure. A country meal in a tureen, this will get even higher if made the day earlier than, permitting its flavours to develop. If you wish to eat it the commonest French manner, ladle out the vegetable soup individually with the meats following as the following course and serve with cornichons, mustard, and a inexperienced salad. However soup and meats served collectively make a formidable and substantial one-dish meal.

  • 1¾ litres water
  • 250g salt pork stomach, chopped into giant chunks
  • 250g white haricot beans (Tarbais are finest), soaked in a single day
  • 1 duck or goose carcass (elective)
  • 2 giant onions, one peeled and caught with 2 cloves, the opposite roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, the white plus 2 inches/5cm inexperienced, trimmed and washed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 small white turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Salt and pepper to style
  • 250g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 175g Jambon de Campagne with its bone, or different smoked ham
  • 6 items of confit de canard
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded
  • 6 thick slices baguette, ideally stale, toasted and rubbed with a clove of garlic

Fill a big pan with the water. Add the pork stomach and beans and carcass. Deliver to the boil, skimming incessantly. Add the onion caught with cloves, flip down the warmth and simmer 1 hour.

In a sauté pan over low warmth, soften the leeks and chopped onions in butter. Add to the soup with the turnips, bouquet garni, and salt and pepper to style. Simmer 45 minutes. Discard the bones, carcass and clove-studded onion. Add the potatoes and Jambon de Campagne. Deliver again to the boil over medium warmth, then scale back the warmth and simmer for Half-hour. Add the confit and cabbage. Simmer for 20-Half-hour extra. 

Put a slice of toast into the underside of every soup bowl earlier than serving the vegetable soup alone then adopted by the meats and greens as the principle course with cornichons and mustard. Or every thing collectively directly for a hearty one-dish meal.

This column written by Julia Watson initially appeared within the October 2021 version of The Bugle.


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