It's been a very busy week and before I knew it, I was faced with more organic vegetables than I knew what to do with or had the time for. So with Thursday (the day a new box of organic produce arrives at my door) rolling around once again, it was time to clear out last week's veggies to make way for the new stuff. The trouble with being a greedy hoarder is that there is always more food in my pantry than I can consume for a year. Over here a can of cannelini beans, over there a few rashers of bacon; tucked away in the corner of the cupboard a nearly forgotten can of tomatoes... In order to use it all up together with the organic zucchini, carrots, onions and broccoli, I chopped up the lot and turned it into my own version of minestrone soup.
Taking my cue from a sidebar on soup in Damien Pignolet's awesome book French, I sweated the chopped onions in olive oil together with the minced bacon. Then in goes the chopped canned tomatoes, some chicken stock and the rest of the chopped vegetables. An hour and some seasoning later, a hearty soup that needed little else but a drizzle of pesto and good, crusty bread.
Also begging to be used was a giant head of gorgeous red cabbage. I don't think I've ever used red cabbage in anything I've cooked before; in fact, I think the last time I ate any red cabbage was in some steak house's salad bar where the vegetable was sliced into little slivers and thrown into the mix, presumably for some added colour. And like I said in my last post, if you want a recipe for coloureds, you go to Nigella Lawson. True to form, I found one for Viennese-style red cabbage, or in Nigella-speak, "Red Cabbage in the Viennese Fashion".
In this dish, the cabbage is braised atop a stove with sliced apples, beef stock, cider vinegar and an onion. It is a sumptuously rich dish, especially since the cabbage and onion are first cooked in a half cup(!!) of butter or beef dripping. I should have trusted my better judgement and halved the amount of butter since I was serving this with a slab of roasted pork belly. Nevertheless it was wonderfully tasty, with the tang of the cider vinegar (the recipe called for just 3 tablespoons; I ended up using something like half a cup) providing a brilliant counterpoint to all that butter and beef stock. The roasted pork was simple—I just threw it in the oven covered with sea salt, skin scored and baked for 160 degrees Celcius for three hours. Yes, we did consume far more fat than was safe that night, but what happy bellies we went to bed with. The cholesterol we can deal with later. So much for healthy organic food!