More Simple Food

There exists a special alchemy between Pork and Cabbage. Served apart, they are delicious, but when cooked together, the co-joining of the strong, definite flavours produces something truly sublime.

Europeans have long known the brilliant simplicity of using as few ingredients as possible in their cuisine. Not only does this spring out of frugality but from the sheer knowledge of the flavours.
Whilst some of us are lucky enough to be seemingly born with that knowledge of ingredients, it can also be learned through time and tasting.
This gathered experience warns us that certain foods are not good together. For example, cheese is rarely served with fish, beef isn’t generally served in a white wine sauce and ketchup isn’t poured over a roast dinner. However, there are always exceptions to every rule and it is wonderful to find an obscure taste sensation in the most unlikely place, the most recent of which might be salted caramels.
Even people with the most jaded taste-buds will know that some foods just belong together: cheese and tomato, chicken and tarragon, cabbage and sausage.
I know, the coupling of sausage and cabbage could sound like a nightmare school dinner. Washed out flabby cabbage with gristly, synthetic pink sausages that are more water and sawdust than anything resembling pork are the things bad childhood meals are made of. But imagine this! Crisp Savoy cabbage, dark green and rich in iron, combined with artisinal sausages that are now so easy to find in any supermarket, accessorised with a blanket – no, pashmina – of thick cheese sauce, then browned in a hot oven until golden and bubbly. Served with nothing more than some crusty bread or Pommes Anna, this is an easy, all-in-one dish guaranteed to satisfy that intrinsic need for comfort food. Thank heavens for the always reliable Jane Grigson with her wealth of knowledge and non-fussy dishes. This recipe comes from her indispensable Vegetable Book.

SAUSAGE AND CABBAGE IN THE DUTCH STYLE serves 4 with a side dish
Taken from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book
1 Large Cabbage, Savoy is best for flavour but you can use almost any kind, shredded and par-boiled.
8 Excellent Quality Sausages
A little Olive Oil (Jan Grigson recommends using lard so you could use this instead)
3 Heaped Tablespoons Plain Flour
2 Tablespoons of the oil from the cooked Sausages
¾ Pint Milk
2 Tablespoons Grated Cheddar or Parmesan, grated – a strong flavoured but good melting cheese is needed
1 Tablespoon Gruyere, cut into small dice or grated
Seasoning and fresh Nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180c. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the olive oil into the bottom of a roasting tin and place in the oven to heat up.
When the oven and oil are hot, place the sausages into the hot fat. They should sizzle immediately. Return to the oven and roast for about half an hour, turning once or twice to ensure a fairly even brown.
Meanwhile, parboil the cabbage. Leave to drain in a colander.
Once the sausages are richly coloured, remove from the oven and drain off 3 tablespoons of the oil (the sausages will have exuded some) into a large saucepan.
Stir the drained cabbage into the sausages and return to the oven whilst you prepare the sauce.
Add the flour to the sausage oil, turn the heat up to medium high and cook briskly to make a roux.
Pour over the milk and whisk until thickened. The sauce needs to be thick as the cabbage will still give off some water, thus diluting the sauce further in the oven. Season with salt, pepper and a rasp of nutmeg.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, whisking well to ensure that they are melted thoroughly into the sauce. Taste again for seasoning.
Remove the cabbage and sausage from the oven (turning the oven up to 220c), ladle over the sauce and mix well. Sprinkle over some grated cheddar or Parmesan if desired and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so. You will hear the bubbling, indicating when it’s ready to serve.
The cabbage will have turned an unctuous sticky brown on the underside, seasoned generously by the sausages and the sauce will be coating everything snugly.
Serve with some sliced potatoes (Pommes Anna) or perhaps a green, bitter salad to counter the richness. Thick crusty bread is an essential.


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Thank you. I have cabbage that needs using up and I was going to do some bacon with it but I'll pop along to the butcher get some excellent sausages and we'll be having this for dinner. I'll let you know how it turns out. I'll serve it with leftover mashed potatoes and macaroni that we have lingering in the fridge...

joey said...

"There exists a special alchemy between Pork and Cabbage" --> So true! I agree! It is always such a winning combination. My whole life I have loved cabbage, and it's only now that I am beginning to realize, perhaps it is because I also love pork? :) This is SO getting bookmarked!

Kelly-Jane said...

SOunds like a great combo. Jane Grigson was an amazing woman. No wonder her daughter is a great foodie too, tea at home must have been really something to look forward to.

Chris said...

Yeah! I love cabbage and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks!

Wendy said...

Delicious. I've been eyeing up this recipe for quite some time but haven't got round to making it. The crispy bits in the picture have persuaded me not to wait any longer!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

But isn't simple food the best?

Kirsten said...

Delicious!! I love anything pork and cabbage...but this looks devine.

When it is *slightly* less hot here in Arizona (like less than 100 degrees F), I will try it!

Julie said...

This sausage and cabbage looks so good that I think I am going to make it over the weekend, thank you.