Last Sunday, after I got a gigantic head of Napa cabbage, I stopped at the Franco Brothers sausage booth and bought the Calabrese sausage, which is pretty peppery and spicy. I asked if it went well with cabbage.
“Let me tell you! My mom used to make this thing in winter, it was like mac ‘n’ cheese for us!” he said. He rattled off the process. “It’s a twenty-minute meal!” he said.
It wasn’t quite twenty minutes the way I made it because I added fingerling potatoes. Here’s what I used:
- 2 sausages (we froze the rest for sausage sandwiches some night)
- half the head of Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 pound fingerling carrots
- 1/2 pound baby carrots
- 3/4 white onion coarsely minced (if that’s a thing)
- 2 cloves garlic, thin sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Before I started the sausages, I heated up the skillet with no oil in it. When it got warm, I toasted the caraway seeds until the fragrance filled the kitchen. I set them aside.
I browned the sausages in oil over medium high heat, five minutes on a side. I took them out of the skillet and added all but a couple of tablespoons of onion to soften. I scraped up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the onions got translucent I added the garlic.
With both the fingerling potatoes and the baby carrots (not the milled kind, real baby carrots, about two/three inches long), I only cut the larger ones, leaving them close to the same size. I didn’t bother peeling the potatoes.
I added the cup of stock and let it come up to a fast simmer, dumped in the potatoes, covered the skillet and let them get a jump on cooking. After five minutes I added the carrots and started putting in the cabbage. I’d cover the skillet and let the leaves cook down. I added the rest of the onion, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. It needed salt because the stock was unsalted.
Finally I nestled the browned sausages down into the cabbage and let the whole thing simmer, covered for about fifteen minutes. We ate it out of bowls. It was pretty tasty. The cabbage was tender and had sweet flavor.
We decided it could do with less caraway, and it seemed like the fresh baby carrots absorbed a lot of the caraway flavor. We had this with a salad and some slices of Revolution Bakery buckwheat rye bread. I didn’t use butter; instead the bread was a sponge to sop up the juice.
You could leave out the potatoes and serve this over rice or egg noodles; I toyed with cooking the potatoes separately and quickly mashing them as a bed for the rest, but I like the flavor of the potatoes mixed with the juices.