Perfectly Cooked Cabbage

Tuesday 16 June 2015

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We were cleaning out the freezer at the weekend and I found a nice piece of salt beef that was in danger of having been in there for far too long, so what's a gal to do.  I thawed it out and cooked it.  I know it's not St Patrick's Day or even close to it . . .  but in all honesty I can eat salt or corned beef anytime!  And of course the tastiest go with it side dish has to be cabbage!

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Cabbage is one of those love it or loathe it kind of vegetables.  I am from the love it camp, but really if a cabbage is cooked properly I can't understand why anyone would loath it.  When it's cooked properly, this is one very excellent vegetable.  I challenge those cabbage haters to give this at least one go and see if I can't change your minds!

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I think part of the bad rap that cabbage has gotten has come from being served lank, insipid blah overcooked cabbage . . .  at school . . .  at home  . . .  in . . .  God forbid, but it happens  . . . restaurants.    I have a very old cookery book dating to the 1950's and the times that they give for cooking vegetables is horrendous!  Can you imagine the flavour of broccoli that's been boiled for 15 minutes???   Cabbage which has been cooked for even longer than that???

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It's no wonder some people loathe it.   Cabbage really only needs about 3 to 5 minutes of cooking time, just so long as you prepare it properly in the first place.    Always pick the freshest cabbage you can find.   It should be bright and crisp, with no floppy limp leaves and a firm heart.

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Finely shredded, lightly salted and cooked quickly in boiling water, it comes out perfect every time.  Of course proper draining helps as well.    You don't want to be eating watery cabbage.   That's another yuck factor.

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I follow Delia's advice and drain it in a colander and then press out any excess water with a small glass saucer.  I then finish it off by chopping it into bits with the edge of the saucer and with a bit of seasoning and just a hint of butter, your cabbage will be delicious.  Slightly buttery, perfectly cooked.  I can't see anyone turning their noses up at this.

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*Perfectly Cooked Cabbage*
Serves 4 generously

This is more of a technique than a recipe, but I guarantee that if you follow these instructions you will have perfect and delicious cabbage every time.  LIghtly cooked and full of goodness! 

1 medium cabbage
fine sea salt
boiling water 

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Take your cabbage and trim off any discoloured or wilted and bruised leaves and discard.   Cut the remaining cabbage into thin strips crosswise.  I take off the outer larger leaves, cut out the thick vein and roll it up before cutting it crosswise.   Then I quarter the inside bit, and remove the core, and cut again, crosswise into thin strips.   Place the cabbage into a large saucepan.  Sprinkle with salt and then heat the kettle.  Pour boiling water over top to cover and place over high heat.  It should come immediately back to the boil.  Boil for three to five minutes.  You can test if it is cooked by tasting a bit to check.  Drain well in a colander and then place the colander back over the empty saucepan.  Use a glass saucer to press out any extra water and then using the edge of a glass saucer, chop it up into bits,  Place into a heated bowl and toss with a bit of butter and some seasoning.  Serve immediately.


  1. This plate would make me happy any day of the week; I adore both cabbage and salt beef. Perfect !

  2. Cabbagae lover here:)

    Beautiful cozy plating!

  3. I love cabbage this way but so few people realize its so easy and fast. I remember my grandmother having a pot of cabbage and a pot of prunes on the stove, boiling away for our whole two hour afternoon visit. Eek!

  4. Yuck to both Amanda. My mom also used to cook meat to death. To death . . . ugh.

  5. Thanks Monique! Believe it or not that is a bread and butter plate. We never use the full sized plates. They are as large as hub caps. Nobody needs to eat that much food! Denby! xoxo


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