Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mrs. Bea's New Year Cabbage

As the first week of the new year draws to a close, I--very belatedly--offer up a tradition that my Southern family and our former housekeeper Mrs. Bea have passed on to me. To be healthy, wealthy, and wise in the new year we cook cabbage and black eyed peas on January 1st of every year. The cabbage is for green bills of money, and the black eyed peas are the change! Mrs. Bea had a way with cooking things like turnip greens and cabbage, vegetables that many children would be inclined to hide in their napkins. Or in their milk--my sister did this once with broccoli. If you're a meat lover, try serving this cabbage with sausage links and mustard. Fish lovers might enjoy its pairing with herring and pickled onions. I, unabashedly, ate several plates of it atop brown rice and black eyed peas seasoned with Tony Chachere's (make a similar mix with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper). The sweetness of the cabbage goes well with the saltiness of the other foods. You'll need:
  • 1/2 a large head of cabbage, cut into 1/2"-1" strips
  • 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 packets of Splenda, or 2+ tablespoons sugar

Chop the cabbage while heating a large stockpot, adding a tablespoon of olive oil. Remember: hot pan, cold oil. Toss the cabbage with the remaining olive oil as you add it into the pot. You want all the leaves to be lightly coated, but not dripping in oil. Once the cabbage has begun to wilt add in your sweetener. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring often, until the leaves' edges have browned and taken on a caramelized quality. I am never able to cook this dish to finish without taking several bites along the way.

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