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Posts Tagged ‘Comfort Food’

We are so lucky in Boulder to enjoy one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the country.

Visiting the market on a Saturday morning is one of my favorite ways to start the weekend. I love the visual splendor of the vegetables, the aromas of the food vendors, the hustle and bustle of the crowd. It is a truly iconic Boulder scene. People have their dogs, their bikes, their kids, their coffees, and their cloth bags. As I pass by, I like to catch snippets of conversations about organic this, tri-athalon that, gluten-free something else. I always stop by and say “hey” to Howie at the Brillig Works booth, who shares my passion for baking (and makes an awesome cinnamon roll). I swing by Shamane’s and eye their pies. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to the clever marriage of flavor and purpose in the cupcakes sold by Street Fare (to benefit the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless). And I love to make a lunch of veggie dumplings from Sisters Pantry, or some masa yumminess from Tres Pupusas.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy the market is with camera in hand, just sampling with my eyes and taking in the visual delights.  Late in the season, peaches are the darlings of the market, with people lined up early for their bag or their box.  But the thing that catches me this morning is the unmistakable aroma of roasting chiles.

If you’ve never seen this contraption, you may not know the joys of fresh roasted New Mexico-style chiles.  The roaster is a metal mesh cylinder that is filled with peppers, turned by a crank, while gas burners shoot flames to blister the skins and cook the meat of the vegetable just enough.  Then, the peppers are packaged in plastic bags to steam. Shoppers at the market eagerly scoop these up.  Once home, the skins come off easily, and the roasted chiles get used for all sorts of  delicious recipes.

Green chiles can be used to flavor your morning scrambled eggs, give a little kick to your burger, or liven up some corn chowder.  But when you want a whole heap of chile flavor, nothing beats this pork green chile from local chef Lyle Davis.

New Mexican Green Chile, Davis Family Style

Serves 8 hearty appetites

Ingredients:

4 to 4 1/2 pounds natural pork butt or pork shoulder (country-style spare ribs can be used in a pinch), cut into cubes

2 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 pounds whole, fresh roasted green chiles (don’t even THINK of using canned!)

3 large onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

8 cups chicken stock

2 cups canned, whole peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions:

Trim the pork of fat and set one to two large 3-4 inch pieces of white pork fat aside to use later.  Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Place flour, salt and black pepper in a bag and mix well.  Add the cubes of pork. Holding the bag closed tight, shake the pork cubes until meat is well-coated.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large stockpot. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is browned slightly.

Add dredged pork cubes, the reserved two pieces of pork fat and stir with onion and garlic.  Allow pork to brown, cooking for up to 15 to 20 minutes. turning frequently, until pork is seared on all sides and bottom of pan has a nice amount of brown bits on it.  (This caramelized brown stuff is called the “fond,” and it is what gives meat stews and sauces their incredible deep rich flavor.)

Remove cooked large pieces of fat and discard.

Add chicken stock, green chile (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped chile) and chopped canned tomatoes.  With wooden spoon, gently scrape bottom and sides of pan to help flavor the stock. With no lid on stockpot, allow chile to come to a boil and then reduce heat to a light simmer. Continue simmering for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until pork is tender. Salt to taste. The green chile should be rich and brown in color.

Optional: Just before serving add fresh cilantro to chile.

Serving suggestion: Serve in a bowl with fresh cilantro, shredded cabbage, and thinly sliced radishes and offer Oaxacan-style string cheese. Serve with hot, fresh corn tortillas. Or, pour to cover a dinner plate and top with two fried eggs, serve cooked pinto beans on the side with several types of salsa.

Source: Sylvia Tawse and Lyle Davis

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Soft Pretzels

I’ve had this post in draft form for more than a week, waiting for inspiration to strike.  I have come up with nothing profound to say about these soft, chewy, salty knots of pleasure, except they are delicious, remarkably easy, and were a huge hit at Morgan’s class Halloween party.  That’s all I got.  Hope you’ll try them.

Soft Pretzels

Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 Tbsp. melted butter*

—–

Cooking spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water*
Pretzel (or kosher) salt

Directions:
Combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Mix on low speed (or just use a spoon) to dissolve the yeast.  Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly sprayed with Pam or other cooking spray, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large wide saucepan or skillet.  In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces for large pretzels, or 16 pieces for smaller pretzels (perfect for kids).  I found that the large pretzels weighed about 4 oz. each, the small ones, half of that. Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope (12 inches for the small ones).  Make a U-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds.  Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer, drain well before returning to the baking sheet.  Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash (if using) and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

* I made these pretzels in vegan form, due to some extreme allergies among Morgan’s classmates.  I substituted Earth Balance vegan spread for butter, and omitted the egg wash.  The results were very good, and the vegan dairy-free version was nearly as delicious and beautiful as the original recipe.

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Now is the time for apples — crisp, juicy, glorious in their familiar, yet still sublime combination of sweet and tart. And what better way to celebrate them than baking a beautiful apple pie?

For this occasion, I chose a traditional double-crusted, deep dish apple pie. For this to work, the apples need to be flavorful and hold their shape while still being juicy, and the crust needs to be crisp and flaky.

Folks are often intimidated by making pie crust, these days. We’ve lost so much of our accumulated culinary knowledge in the home. We’ve forgotten what it means to be a good cook, and instead revere the celebrity chefs on our televisions. We have huge kitchens with cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances and 6 burner stoves which too often are used just for heating up take-out food.

Pie crusts don’t require a degree from culinary school.  Generations of women (and it was mostly women) have rolled out pie crusts many times a week, without a recipe and in kitchens the size of my closet. Flaky pie crust is the result of adhering to a few guidelines, and then practicing enough so you get comfortable with the technique.

Keep your cool. Flaky crusts come from fats (butter, in this case) staying cold, and not coating the proteins in the flour. To keep that from happening, recipes often advise cooks to refrigerate their ingredients, even chill their bowls and utensils.  It’s best to make pie on a cool day, rather than in the heat of the summer.

Work quickly. This prevents the dough from warming up (see above) and prevents overworking the dough (see below).

Don’t overwork the dough. Gluten is a protein in wheat flour that creates long strands when stirred or kneaded.  This is wonderful when you are making pizza dough or baking bread, but it is anathema to tender pastry.

There’s not much more to it, honestly.  Details follow below. Don’t be intimidated, give it a try.

Double-crusted Apple Pie

Ingredients:

Filling:

8 apples,* peeled and sliced

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup flour

Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. melted butter

* I suggest a mixture of apples, some tart and some sweet.  Choose varieties that hold their shape during baking. For this pie, I used Granny Smiths, Jonathans, and Golden Delicious. If you have access to an apple orchard or farmer’s market, you may find varieties not sold in normal supermarkets.  Ask the farmer about these — some heirloom varieties make the very best pies!

Crust:

14 Tbsp. (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cold

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

6 Tbsp. ice water

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Cut the butter into little cubes (about 1/2″ ). Set aside approximately two-thirds of the butter, wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. Wrap the remaining butter, and put it in the freezer. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a large Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer for about half an hour, as well.

Place the flour mixture in the food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter from the fridge (the larger portion) and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10-20 seconds. Add the remaining frozen butter cubes and pulse until the cubes are about the size of pease.

Add the ice water and vinegar and pulse five or six times. The dough will not “come together,” but you will be able to pinch it and have it hold together. Dump the crumbly mixture into a large Ziploc bag (you can use the same one from before). Close the bag, forcing any extra air out. Quickly knead the dough into a flat ball. Divide into two discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes or longer.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.

Peel and slice the apples, tossing them with the lemon juice to discourage browning. Combine the remaining ingredients, except the butter.  Gently mix with the apples, tossing gently to coat.

Roll out one disc at a time, keeping the other cool in the refrigerator while you work.

On a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of plastic wrap, if you prefer, roll out the first disc of dough to approximately 12″ in diameter.  Place the dough in the 9″ pie pan, and put it in the refrigerator while you roll out the upper crust to the same size.

Fill the bottom crust with the apples. Since the apples will shrink some in cooking, I find it best to take the time to layer the apples in the crust, leaving the least amount of space possible. The filling will be mounded over the height of the pan to some extent.  Do not worry about this, it is normal.

Drizzle the melted butter over the filling, and place the top crust over the whole thing. Fold the top crust edge over the bottom crust edge, and press together to make a ridge all the way around the pie. Crimp in any design you like. I usually make a zigzag by pushing the dough between my thumb and forefinger on my left hand, and the thumb of my right hand. But you can use a fork, or make any sort of design that encourages the two crusts to bond together and hold in the juices. Be creative.

Cut slits in the top to let steam escape. In the pie pictured above, I used a fancy device my Aunt Dusty gave me, that made a cute apple design. But you don’t need one to make a perfectly good-looking pie.

Brush the top with an egg white and sprinkle liberally with sugar.

Put the pie on a baking sheet, lined with foil to catch the inevitable drips and spills. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately one hour, or until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling.

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Larry and I recently celebrated our twelfth anniversary. One of the best things about being with him is the everyday, ordinary, sweet and loving things that make up our life together. These little gestures remind us of how grateful we are to have found one another, later in life.   For years, I pined away for love, and I doubt I’ll ever forget that loneliness, or take for granted the warm comfort of waking up next to him.

Long before we met, both my sweetie and I had the tradition of making waffles for Sunday morning breakfast. It was one of many signs that we belonged together, and we’ve continued enjoying “special breakfast” on Sundays ever since. Waffles still show up often in the rotation, and are our daughter’s absolute favorite.

This recipe has that lovely quality of seeming light and rich at the same time, a result of the sour cream and whipped egg whites, I suppose. No matter why, they’re delicious and sure to please the loved ones who are gathered at your table.

Sour Cream Waffles

adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum

Makes about 12 “five of hearts” waffles.  You’ll get fewer from your Belgian waffle maker, but people will not eat as many.  This recipe feeds 4-6, depending on how much you love waffles.

Ingredients:

3 eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)

3/4 cup sour cream (light is fine)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until well blended.  Beat in milk, melted butter, vanilla, and sour cream.  Combine flour, salt and other dry ingredients.  Add to egg mixture and mix until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork the batter, which will toughen it.  Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into batter.

Heat waffle iron and cook according to the manufacturer’s suggestion.  In my heart-shaped non-stick waffle iron, each waffle takes a heaping 1/3 cup of batter.

Cook until golden brown.  Serve immediately, with butter and maple syrup, or fruit and yogurt, or whatever strikes your fancy.

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Meatloaf is classic midwestern comfort food, one of America’s favorite dishes. I’ve heard it said that one should never eat anyone’s meatloaf except your mother’s. But, then again, not every mother makes great meatloaf. My mom made perfectly serviceable meatloaf, but the recipe is lost to posterity, which never seemed like a great tragedy, honestly.

I wasn’t really looking for a meatloaf recipe when, years ago, a friend enthusiastically shared this healthy version of the traditional dish. It’s moist and tasty, and hits those basic comfort food notes. While this meatloaf is not gourmet fare, we like it enough that it makes it into our family meal rotation with some regularity.  It has the benefit of being low fat, and having a good amount of vegetables in it, but in such small bits that even my persnickety 8 year old doesn’t mind.

I bet my mom would like it, too.

Turkey Meatloaf

Makes 2 loaves (each about 6 servings).

Ingredients:

1 cup onion

3/4 cup carrot

1/2 cup celery

1/2 cup red pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 1/2 lbs ground turkey (93% lean)

1 cup oats

1/3 cup ketchup

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

Directions:

Whirl onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bell pepper together in food processor until finely chopped.

Sauté vegetables in 2 tsp. canola oil until tender.   Set aside.

In large bowl combine remaining ingredients. Add cooled vegetables and mix well.

Grease 2 (9″x 5″) loaf pans.

Fill with meat mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes.

Top with mixture of 1/3 cup ketchup and 3 Tbsp. brown sugar.

Bake additional 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information, per serving:  192 calories, 8.6 g fat, (2.4 g sat fat), 100 mg cholesterol, 21 g protein, 356 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 1.3 g fiber, 3.2 g sugar, 45.5 mg calcium.

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I’m not a fan of food that tries to be something it’s not.  For example, I never appreciated tofu hot dogs and tofurkey at Thanksgiving.  There are whole strains of vegetarianism that adopt this approach, I know, but they leave me cold.  You can eat wonderful vegetarian foods, delicious and satisfying in every way, without having it pretend to be meat. Similarly, folks I know who have to eat a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or gluten intolerance enjoy a great variety of tasty and satisfying meals, without having to bake something that pretends to be bread.

Where this approach fails is when one begins to feel deprived, left out, or conspicuously different.  If you’ve grown up eating something that has all sorts of memories and symbolism attached to it, and now can no longer have it in your diet, it’s normal to feel that as a loss.  Food has emotional and cultural power; it’s not just a bunch of nutrients for our body.

So it is that I found myself searching on the internet for recipes for Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls recently.  I’d been invited to Easter Brunch at our good friends’ home, and I had offered to bring sweet rolls.  Two of the guests at the table were gluten-intolerant, including a two year old who would not take kindly to being told “no, you may not have the sweet, gooey, enticing treat that everyone else is having.”  The older guest would presumably have been more gracious, but nonetheless disappointed.  So, I took it upon myself to find an acceptable alternative.

And what I found is that some very creative and determined people had been working on this problem for some time.  If you must be gluten-free, this is a good time to do it.  There are many more options than there were just a few years ago. One particularly great resource is the website, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, which is where I found this terrific recipe.  Turns out, Gluten Free Girl had been working on finding acceptable cinnamon rolls, making batch after batch, and recently declared these rolls to be “The Cinnamon Rolls of My Dreams.”  Which is pretty high praise, I think.

The dough takes a bit of getting used to — it doesn’t behave quite like a normal gluten-filled dough would.  But her instructions are very clear and helpful, and the rolls turned out to be a convincing facsimile.  Everyone at the table enjoyed them, and no one had to feel deprived.  Which is something to celebrate, any time of year.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons active-dry yeast

4 ounces almond flour (1 1/4 cup)

4 ounces corn flour (3/4 cup)

4 ounces sweet rice flour (3/4 cup)

4 ounces potato starch (2/3 cup)

4 ounces tapioca flour (1 cup)

1 tablespoon xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup milk powder (we used goat milk powder in this batch)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Filling for Cinnamon Rolls

4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick or 8 tablespoons)

2/3 cup brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

4 tabelspoons cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar


Activating the yeast. Bring 1 cup of the water to 115°. This is a good temperature for yeast — not too hot, not too cold. If you want to be particular about it, you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature. I like to turn on the tap water and run it over my wrist. When the water feels like the temperature of my skin (with no cold splashes or hot pockets), it’s ready. Mix the water, yeast, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside to rise, about 15 minutes.

Mixing the dry ingredients. Combine the almond flour, corn flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and salt together. Whisk them together in a food processor, or in a stand mixer, or with a whisk. Combining them into one flour will help the final cinnamon rolls to be light, rather than dense and lumpy. Add the brown sugar and milk powder. Stir to combine.

Finishing the dough. Bring the remaining 1/2 cup of water to 110°. If you have a stand mixer, move the dry ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer. (If not, you can make this dough with a hand mixer or by hand.) Turn the mixer on medium-low speed and add the yeasty water, then the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing in between. Mix for a few minutes until the dough comes together. If the dough feels a bit too dry, add the remaining water. (I always seem to need it.) The dough should be soft and a bit shaggy but not soggy. It will NOT be as firm as you expect a gluten dough to be. Instead, you are aiming for pliable and a bit spongy, like a cookie dough.

Yeast doughs will vary in behavior depending on the weather. These measurements are a guide. If you find you need another splash of water to make the dough feel right, then go ahead. If the dough feels too wet (like you need to wipe your hands after touching it), then add a touch more potato starch. Start to trust your instincts.

Letting the dough rise. Move the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and set the bowl in a warm place in the kitchen. Allow it to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. The dough will have become a bit more pliable, a little more like gluten dough, at this point.

Rolling out the dough. Grab a Silpat (or piece of parchment paper) and lay it on a large baking sheet. Move 1/2 of the dough onto the Silpat and cover it entirely with plastic wrap. Slowly, roll out the dough to the edge of the baking sheet. (You’re rolling out its width, first.) I try to make the dough the width of the rolling pin. Next, spin around the baking sheet and roll out the dough lengthwise. You probably won’t take it as far as the edge. Simply roll it out to about 1/2-inch thick. Take off the plastic wrap.

Making the filling. Melt the butter on the stove, on low heat. Put half the brown sugar, cinnamon, agave nectar, golden raisins, and walnuts onto the rolled-out dough. Drizzle 1/4 of the melted butter on top.

Rolling the dough. Here’s the important part: go slowly. Grab the Silpat on the edge farthest from you and pull it up gently. The edge of the dough should start to roll away from the Silpat and toward the dough. If not, then nudge it with your fingers. Make tight rolls, moving slowly and patting the dough gently as you go. Roll the dough, then press it down with the Silpat, then roll some more, with the dough falling toward you, going slowly. If the filling oozes out as you reach the end, that’s okay. It’s a sign you’re going to have good cinnamon rolls.

(Nothing of this should be about being perfect, anyway.)

Cutting the dough into rolls. Go grab your dental floss. Yes, your dental floss. Cut a long piece of it, longer than two hand widths apart. Slide the piece under the log of dough, then bring the two edges together to cross over the top. By doing this, you should be slicing a piece off the log. This makes for lovely, neat pieces, instead of jagged hunks. Make your way down the log of dough with the dental floss. You should end up with about 8 pieces, with ragged end bits as well.

(Sometimes I bake the ragged ends separately, as little cinnamon swirls. Sometimes I just throw them in.)

Preparing to rise the rolls again. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into the bottom of a pie pan. Place the sliced rolls into the buttered pan, tightening the rolls if they have begun to unravel. Set them aside to rise.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough and remaining filling.

Allow the rolls to rise for 1 more hour. Gluten-free doughs do not rise as high as gluten doughs do on the second rise, but they do puff out nicely. It’s worth it.

Baking the rolls. Preheat the oven to 350°. When the oven has come to temperature, slide in both pans. Bake until the rolls fill firm to the touch when you press on both sides of one, but still with some give, about 25 minutes.

Allow the rolls to cool for about 10 minutes, then invert them onto a plate.

Frosting the rolls. Put the butter and cream cheese into a food processor. Whirl them up. While that is mixing, pour in the vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar in handfuls, looking at the texture of the frosting between batches. It usually takes about 2 cups for frosting to be thick and rich in our food processor, but you may like a different texture. This is only a guide.

Frost the rolls when they have reached room temperature. 

Go at it.

Makes about 15-16 cinnamon rolls.

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Red Cabbage and Apples

I’m not Irish. All those Saint Patty’s day cabbage recipes look good, but don’t quite stir my German heart like sweet and sour red cabbage with bacon and apples.  This is the food of my people.  I thought this recipe originated in eastern Europe, but when my mother-in-law served a similar dish as a part of a Norwegian dinner, I decided it might really be more accurately called northern European.  In any case, it’s good.

This particular recipe is from my mom’s mom, and includes bacon.  But, for years, I made a vegetarian version from Anna Thomas’ classic Vegetarian Epicure, made with butter and beer (but no meat, obviously). The bacon is delicious, of course, but the real star is the way the sweet and sour play off each other. It may be peasant food, but it has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, acid and fat that often eludes the most upscale cuisine.

Traditionally a side dish, this is great served with pork and egg noodles. But I must confess I ate a big bowl of it for lunch the other day, just by itself.  It was awesome.

Margaret Wellen’s German Red Cabbage

Aunt Hilde’s note: Use an iron skillet – it flavors the cabbage and gives you a good dose of iron in the doing.  Stainless steel or Teflon will work but the cabbage won’t taste authentic.  The final product should be soft (not mushy), tart, and balanced spice.  The amounts listed below are approximate since I never exactly measure the ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 good-sized red cabbage – about 8 inches in diameter – sliced in ¼ inch strips

10 – 12 strips bacon

1 large apple – cut to bite-size

1 large onion – coarse dice

8 whole cloves

12 whole allspice

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet & sour mixture:

¾ cup cider vinegar

1 cup water

½ cup sugar (brown works fine)

Directions:

Fry out bacon in iron skillet and reserve bacon and drippings.

Lightly sauté onion in bacon drippings, add cabbage and turn frequently to evenly coat the cabbage with the oil.

Add apple, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, salt, pepper and sweet-sour mixture.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until cabbage is partially cooked (beginning to soften).

Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, and then adjust the spice and sweet-sour balance to your taste.

Vent cover and continue simmer until cabbage is soft but not mushy.

Stir in crumpled bacon bits just prior to serving.

Serves 8 in some households, less in ours.

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