Monday, February 19, 2007

Honey and Caraway

It's not often that I taste something while it's cooking and it's bad. It's not that I have some extraordinary skill; it's just hard to cook good ingredients and make them bad. It was worrisome, then, to taste cabbage in the process of cooking and have it be as bad as it was. (It was actually a lot like the cabbage I cooked in Hungary, which Joel tried and wisely refused to eat.)

Since I don't usually write about my failures, you've probably guessed that it was good in the end. And yes, after I added more salt, honey, and mustard, it was delicious. So don't be discouraged if it's a bland, watery mess when you first taste it. Honey fills in most of the gaps, and mustard fills in the rest. This makes 4-6 servings and takes about an hour.

  • 1 medium head red cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbs. caraway seeds
  • 1 lemon
  • 3-4 tbs. honey
  • mustard to taste (1-2 tbs., I think)
  • butter or oil or both
  • salt, pepper
Dice the onion and fry over medium-low heat in the butter or oil with some salt in a big pot. As it cooks, cut up the cabbage. When it's soft, after five minutes or so, add the caraway seeds and stir. After another minute, add the cabbage, some salt, and a little bit of water (less than 1/4 cup), and cover the pot. Stir occasionally, and add more water as necessary if the pot dries out. When the cabbage has started to soften, add the juice from the lemon. Add the honey a little bit at a time and stop when the balance is right. (My measurements are all approximate--next time I'll try to make them more exact.) Cook until the cabbage is soft, which takes a long time. When it's ready, add the mustard and taste. You'll probably want to add a bit more honey, since the sweetness goes nicely with the mustard. Mix in some pepper and serve.

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