|credit: La Grande Farmers' Market|
"Take a good firm cabbage and wash it thoroughly, removing any decayed leaves from the outside: cut it across the stalk twice, about two inches deep, to let the water penetrate to the thick part. Let it soak in salt and water for about half-an-hour. Then put it on in plenty of boiling water with some salt in it, and a small pinch of carbonate of soda, and let it boil with the lid off for ten minutes. Then pour all the water away and fill it up again with boiling water from the kettle, add a little salt and let it boil for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes longer till it is cooked. Take it up on a strainer and squeeze all the water from it with a spoon or saucer, when it may be turned out on a plate or dish for use. Or chop it up finely, put it in a basin and mix with it a good large teaspoonful of butter, a little pepper and salt, 2 large table-spoonfuls of milk and egg well beaten, stir it all with a fork and put it in a pudding-dish, sprinkle a few bread-crumbs over the top, and put it in the oven or before the fire to become firm and brown the top. This is a delightful way to use cabbage. Very digestible and nourishing."
Pretty simple, right? I'm marginally interested in trying the cabbage "gratin" recipe. Did you notice that she is cooking the cabbage whole? Modern instruction generally encourages you to cut out the hard core and cut up the cabbage - slices, shreds or wedges, before attempting to cook. If cut up, contemporary recipes for boiled cabbage recommend 8-10 minutes cooking tops. Though I recommend braising it - saute some garlic and onion in olive oil with salt and pepper. When soft, add sliced cabbage and a cup of wine (or beer - a nice choice if you are serving with sausages). Pop the lid on your pan and let it cook on medium low heat till soft. About 8-10 minutes. You can add some caraway seeds to the mix if you want to tart it up a little. Serve with sausages or corned beef. Yum!