We had already discovered Kielbasa sausage (available from Asda in Bournemouth) and are confirmed Kielbasa fans. Hence, when I spotted a recipe involving "Polish sausage", I knew what we were talking about.
I was looking for a dish that would be relatively easy to make. One that either I could make earlier in the day and just pop in the oven to get on with cooking, or one which didn't require me to chivvy it along. The reason for this is that I knew that today was going to be a fairly busy day - as indeed, it turned out to be - and that I also wanted to cook some chicken liver pate for us to have on Saturday for supper.
My disability is one of those conditions that results in your having the best of your energy supplies available in the morning (usually), which is why we do the shopping etc. then. Some evenings, it really is more than I can do to cook a meal - which is why you'll find items being bumped from the menu list. However, because I meal plan, I was able to find an easy recipe that would mean I had "enough left in the tank" to tackle the pate later on. Oh how I envy those people who can spend the evening baking! At one time I would have been able to do that, but then I was far too busy gallivanting around with my horses!
The recipe begins with the requirement to pour a kettle of boiling water over your sliced cabbage. Now I've absolutely no idea why you're required to do that - except for the fact that I noticed it changed the flavour slightly, bringing out the sweetness of the cabbage. It also lost that "rawness" that features in dishes like coleslaw and ran colour all over the sink. Well, that was fine, because my chopping board was already purple, my hands were an interesting blue colour and the colander was all the colours of the rainbow! As for my t-shirt, well, all I can say is I forgot to put my pinny on again. *sigh*
However, the most entertaining part of the whole recipe (apart from eating it, of course!) was the chemical reaction involved when you pour the five tablespoons of lemon juice over the purple cabbage and watch it turn hot Chinese pink. Who knew you could use purple cabbage leaves as litmus paper? Not me.
A point of note is the involvement of the sugar/cornflour mixture. I was a tad dubious about this, as my cabbage wasn't producing much in the way of juice. The lemon juice and the wine hadn't really helped much either, so I was cautious when adding the cornflour mixture. Just as well, as everything dried up and I was required to add around 100ml of water with each half of the cornflour mixture. The end result was a lovely glossy sauce which, coupled with the sour cream on the potatoes, was more than enough to moisten what would otherwise have been a dry dish.
I absolutely adore the juxtaposition of the colours. The dark purple-pink of the cabbage against the white of the sour cream, with the lurid green of the chives lifting everything and providing that splash of green that makes a dish look so tempting. The flavours went so well together, too. The cabbage took on the flavour of the Kielbasa almost instantly and both flavours went so well with the lemon, butter and wine. To quote Masterchef - it worked. It worked all the better for the rich nuttiness of the oven-baked potatoes, together with the sour cream bringing its lovely creaminess to the table, with the chives adding that alternative level of flavour.
Would I make this one again? You bet I would - even though son and heir didn't like the cabbage overly much. ~shrug~ He's got the jacket potato and the sausage, he won't starve!
|Look at those colours!|
1 large red cabbage, sliced
2 litres boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 tbsp lemon juice
125ml red wine
half a tsp salt
quarter of a tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dark brown soft sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
400g Kielbasa sausage, sliced
3 large potatoes, suitable for cooking in their jackets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small tub sour cream
handful of chives, chopped fine.
1. Place the cabbage in a colander and pour the boiling water over the cabbage. Allow it to drain well. Pre-heat your oven to 180deg.
2. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the shallots and cook for around 5 minutes or until golden, transparent and sweet.
3. Add the cabbage and stir in the lemon juice. Cook and stir for around 5 minutes, until the cabbage is pink. Marvel at the magic that created that colour!
4. Add the wine, salt and pepper, then cover and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes.
5. Prepare the potatoes ready to be baked in their jackets. Check them over thoroughly, removing any blemishes and wash them carefully. Prick each potato with a sharp knife three or four times each side.
6. Place a tablespoon of olive oil on the centre of a baking dish and dip each potato into the oil. Rub the oil over each potato, making sure it is completely covered, then place each around the baking dish, with enough room between the potatoes to allow a through flow of air.
7. Season each potato well, especially with salt. There's nothing nicer than a lovely salty potato skin. Place them in the oven to bake for around 1 hour, turning them over half way through the baking time.
8. Mix together the sugar and cornflour with a little water and add - half at a time - to the cabbage. You may well need to add 100ml of water with each addition of the cornflour mixture, if you're not seeing a sauce appearing. Stir well, to avoid the cornflour setting into lumps.
9. Add the sausage pieces, stir well to combine, then cover and resume simmering for 30 minutes more. You'll need to stir the pot every 10 minutes or so and watch the liquid levels, adding a little more water if needs be.
10. Once the potatoes are done (when a vegetable knife inserted into them runs through without restriction), cut a cross into the top of each one, press the sides (through a tea-towel if they're too hot to touch) to bring some of the flesh to the surface and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.