Yes Boozy friends, it is me again! Today, I will be sharing with you this amazing Gin Infused Braised Cabbage recipe. I stumbled across this recipe on my favourite food website – BBC Good Food. Before I go indulging you in on this recipe, I thought I will share with you a few amazing tips in cooking cabbage. For example, what to look for when shopping, how to store, tips on preparing and what flavours pairs well with them. I do promise to try and keep it short and sweet – unlike my brinjal article. I can’t promise you anything though!
Different types of Cabbages:
This humble vegetable has been around since Adam and Eve started their vegetable patch. They come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colours. It had a bad reputation in the past due to people over boiling them. Today, we have access to thousands of amazing recipes transforming this humble vegetable into something special and mind blowing. Yes friends cabbage can be very classy if cooked and prepared correctly.
There are four main types of cabbages:
This is your most common and widely available cabbage. It has a tight with a smooth pale to light green head. This cabbage is your “jack of all trades” when it comes to the cooking. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes, such as salads, slaws, stir-fries, wraps, stuffing, soups and stews. I do have this amazing recipe where I braise my green cabbage with Bacon, Thyme and White Wine. I might yet still share this recipe with you. I’m still deciding!
Don’t you just love that beautiful colour of the red/purple cabbage? It adds a wonderful touch of brightness to your food. Did you know that it is one of the biggest staples in Central European cooking. Most often pairs well with fruit and other sweet vegetables. Another amazing recipe I have which is called Red Salad. It has red cabbage, red apples, raddish, red onion, raspberries, pomegranate seeds and pecan nuts. Absolutely delicious. Another firm favourite in my household is red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar. Hmmmmm yummy!! A word of caution when cooking a red cabbage, it does change colour to a weird blue purple colour. All you need to do is add a little acid like a vinegar or lemon juice when cooking.
This cabbage is very tender and looks like a 100 year old granny – wrinkly. It has pale green and a much gentler flavour than the green cabbage. Mostly used in European cooking, but you can also use it for wraps instead of rice paper or tortillas. Jamie Oliver has a recipe that is so simple but goes so well with a nice piece of steak. Savoy Cabbage, salt, pepper, a little butter and Worcestershire Sauce and that is all. Simplicity at its best.
Also known as the Napa or Celery Cabbage. This cabbage has long white ribs and has tender pale green leaves. The chinese cabbage looks a bit like a romaine lettuce. It has a milder taste than the green cabbage but slightly sweeter, nuttier and peppery. This is the perfect veg for stir fries, asian salads, soups or a spicy kimchi.
Bok Choy is a also a Chinese Variety of Chinese Cabbage. This cabbage doesn’t make a head like all the other cabbages but instead, it has long firm white ribs of deep green leaves. It looks kinda like a spinach.
Cabbages At The Market:
Cabbages are available all year round. When purchasing cabbages make sure they are firm and heavier than what they look. Make sure the core and surrounding leaves are firm and free from worm holes. If the out leaves look a little scruffy or beaten, just remove them, the inner leaves underneath should be crisp and beautiful.
Cabbages At Home:
It does not matter what variety of cabbage you purchased, they all should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag. This is so it can retain its moisture. Place the cabbage in the crisper section of your fridge. If you have a partially unused cabbage make sure that it is wrapped tightly and put back in the fridge. If your cabbage is stored correctly it can be stored for up to 2 months. This is why it is such a firm favourite in regions where it is extremely cold.
Remove and discard any damaged, wilted, and tough outer leaves. Clean the cabbage by rinsing it with clean cold water. For shredding purposes it is easier to cut the cabbage into quarters. Cutting the core out, you can now either grate (course side) or finely slice.
One of the easiest ways of cooking the cabbage so you don’t over cook it is to steam it over boiling water for 5 minutes (It must just be under tender. Try to avoid boiling it – you lose so many good nutrients and this is when it gets over cooked.) Drain well. Then saute it in butter or choice of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. Should you be cooking an entire wedge it should take anything for twelve to twenty minutes to cook. Should you be using raw cabbage in a salad, make sure that it is finely sliced as it will be a little too hard to eat.
If you are braising your cabbage you can’t really overcook it. It gets softer and softer the longer you cook it and the more tastier. When braising the good nutrients can’t go anywhere. 😀
Flavours that goes well with Cabbage:
Cabbage loves bacon, dried fruit, vinegar, rosemary, butter, soy sauce, mustard, apples, carraway seeds, dark seasame oil, garlic, juniper, garlic and ginger.
Wine that pairs with Cabbage:
Dishes that contain green cabbage you can go with a off dry like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Red cabbage dishes or stir fry cabbage dishes that contain beef, duck, chinese five spice or hoisan sauce you can pull it off with a lovely fruity Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel. If you looking for something a little fruity you could go with a Semillon or Colombard. Stirfry that has lots of peppers, asparagus or mangetout peas, you can never ever go wrong with a Sauvignon Blanc.
Finally… Here is your Gin Infused Braised Cabbage Recipe…
I know this might not sound so great. I mean who would think that gin infused braised cabbage would be tasty? The fact that it is mixed with milk and cream? It sounds gross right? I mean My boozy kitchen what are you thinking… you may wonder? Well let me tell you one thing right now… Never judge a recipe by its TITLE unless you have tried it!! Ask my hubby, he will tell you. The amount of times I have proved him wrong is too many to count. Now he has learnt to keep quiet. LOL!! 😀
Triple Three Gin was my choice for this boozy gin infused braised cabbage recipe. Why? Well not only was it all I had but also for the fact that this gin has a really lovely strong juniper flavour.
Just so you know Triple Three imports their Juniper berries from Tuscany. It was amazing how sweet they were. I will be posting about my Triple Three Gin Experience in the very near future soon so stay tuned.
Behind the scenes of making my boozy gin infused braised cabbage:
To start making your gin infused braised cabbage – crushing some Juniper berries using a pestle and mortar.
My cabbage of choice was Chinese cabbage but you can use the normal green cabbage.
Put butter into a very large pan or wok. Add the cabbage and leeks along with the residual water from the rinsing of the cabbage. Sprinkle on the bouillon powder and season well with pepper. Cover the pan and sit over a medium heat.
Crush the juniper berries thoroughly using a pestle and mortar. Tip into a pan with the gin and milk and put over a high heat. Bring to the boil and bubble for 3 minutes, stirring now and again. Remove from heat, season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and allow for those flavours to infuse.
On a low heat, whisk in the creme fraiche and season with black pepper. Gently warm the sauce, pour over the cabbage and toss. Don’t allow for this mixture to boil as it will split.
If you like, to take this gin infused braised cabbage up a notch, you could turn this into a dauphinoise. Instead of braising the cabbage, add it into an ovenproof dish. Line the dish well with butter, add the cabbage that has been slightly steamed over the infused milk gin mixture. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and back in pre-heated oven for about 20 – 35 minutes.
My wine of choice to pair with the gin infused braised cabbage was a Colombar 2018 from Van Loveren Family Vineyards.