Cabbage is one of those vegetables that I know I should eat but never really do. Why? Because I always think of cabbage and potatoes (or any kind of starch, to be quite honest), and we don’t eat either of those too often. Rather, we tend to stick to dishes that are loaded with vegetables, such as stews, soups, and salads. When I got a head of cabbage from my CSA a week ago, I looked at it with both fear and excitement. I knew I had to get busy finding recipes that would taste delicious in order to overcome that silly fear of mine. Not even 5 minutes into my search on New York Time’s Cooking and I had found a match!
New York Time’s Cooking is my go-to recipe search engine. The recipes I find successful time after time are mainly those by Martha Rose Shulman, cookbook author and NYT food columnist. Upon receiving the cabbage, my natural reaction was to look at what recipes she had with cabbage. When I found this recipe, I took the liberty of cooking it for dinner instead of having my mom cook her Cabbage and Pasta. I felt an affinity to this recipe because it had everything I wanted: something hearty, something healthy, something tasty, something “exotic”, and something with cabbage.
This recipe fell in all of those criteria and one more: it’s comfort food. On NYT Cooking, this recipe is a chakchoukah and I had the original intent to cook as so. But once I had done all the steps but add the egg, I felt as though this recipe didn’t need an egg to be topped off, just great company.
And with that one little tweak, I present to you the Cabbage and Peppers Stew. I made this into a meal by serving it alongside brown rice and pita to soak up the juices. This recipe makes a lot of stew; I had enough for 8 servings and since it tastes so amazing, I had no issue eating it twice a day for the next 3 days. I call this adapted version a stew, even though I think it’s too liquidy to be a stew yet too consistent to be a soup. Whatever it’s called will not capture the flavors of this recipe, so all you can do now is try it and say what you think.
Cabbage and Pepper Stew
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise, then sliced thin across the grain
- 1 1/2 cups bell peppers, any color, seeded and sliced
- Salt to taste
- 1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons harissa, to taste,
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, parsley/cilantro mix
Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy casserole or skillet, or in an earthenware casserole set on a flame tamer. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. If they begin to stick to the pan add a generous pinch of salt. Add another generous pinch of salt and the peppers and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the cabbage, chiles, coriander seeds, cumin and caraway and cook, stirring, until cabbage has wilted, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the harissa or cayenne, salt and pepper, stir together and add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring from time to time, until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is thick and fragrant, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in all but 2 teaspoons of the parsley or cilantro, taste and adjust seasonings.
Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking’s Cabbage and Pepper Chakchoukah