Besides, it is a perfect environment for someone to catch a cold. And what is the best way to escape this illness? Some vitamin intake might do.
Let’s talk about cabbage, a book example of highly nutritional winter food that will grant you good health – if you give it a chance. This leafy, crunchy vegetable makes a delightful salad when shredded, while some people prefer to add it to soups and stews. My personal preference is raw cabbage. I’ve been slicing it daily for the last 2 months and driving Juanpi crazy – he’s not really a fan of it.
Together with homemade red beet slices and beans/lentils/chick peas – seasoned with salt, olive oil, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar – that’s how I like it the most.
From the garden…
… into the kitchen!
But then there is also fermented cabbage. Just think of German Sauerkraut or Korean kimchi – who doesn’t know these? Slovenians share the middle-and-eastern-European cabbage tradition and enthusiasm, although I’ve noticed that young Slovenes aren’t that familiar with this kind of dishes anymore. In our house, fermented cabbage -along with fermented kohlrabi- has always been present as a traditional winter plate, together with blood sausage and fresh sausage which are usually cooked, then oven-roasted with mashed potatoes and sometimes cooked brown beans.
But that’s not all: we also like to make meat-stuffed cabbage, a rather festive dish called sarma which is commonly prepared all over the former Ottoman countries. And for spoon-dish enthusiasts, there are numerous delicious stews with fermented cabbage, too.
According to different regions of Slovenia, every one of them has its own version of stew. The most popular one comes from Primorska region and it’s called jota. And no, it has nothing to do with the Spanish traditional dance except for the same written name. Slovene jota consists of potatoes, beans, smoked pork, spices and fermented cabbage. I made a meatless version and spiced it with Spanish smoked paprika instead.
The preparation is simple: assemble the ingredients, place them in a stew pot and cook them on middle heat for about 45 minutes. Bay leaf and cumin seeds contributed to the genuine taste of the dish.
And here is another fermented cabbage stew I made not long ago, using unhulled barley, carrot, some slices of veal, tomato pureé and dried Spanish pepper.
For this stew I sautéed the veal with onion and garlic in some olive oil, added carrot, cabbage and barley, then cover it with freshly made broth, consisted of bay leaf, saffron, ground cumin, sea salt, dried basil, dried pepper and – water. Towards the end of cooking I added tomato pureé and served it with freshly baked bread. Another hearty winter meal!
So, if you are looking for something rich in vitamin C – cabbage is the perfect companion for you!