Market Flavours: Red Cabbage with Red Onions and Peaches

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I obviously made a tactical error last week by publishing the stuffed zucchini blossoms experience; this week, Bosco Farms was sold out of zucchini blossoms before I made it over to his market stand. Next week, I’ll be faster off the mark.

CabbageI did, however, find a fresh little red cabbage and some red onions there, plus peaches from Loffredo Fruit Farms. With a pork tenderloin planned for dinner, I had the urge for some cooked red cabbage on the side. I’ve done so many variations on this, with ingredients ranging from caraway seeds to apples and blackcurrants, and it’s always about getting the balance right between sweet and sour.

This time, I chopped a large red onion and a firm peach, then cooked them over medium-high heat in a deep skillet with bit of olive oil. I quartered the cabbage and remove the core, then sliced it thin; the cabbage was quite small but yielded a couple of generous handfuls. Once the onion and peach were slightly caramelized, I tossed in the cabbage, a few sage leaves and a cinnamon stick, then poured over a bit of red wine vinegar (for the acidity) and a bit of red wine. I turned down the heat, covered the pot, and let it cook for about 45-60 minutes; I’ve also done this in a slow cooker for several hours, which works well. I then added a few tablespoons of a tart orange marmalade, the type made with fruit juices instead of sugar or sweeteners, and let it cook a while longer. I added salt to taste, and removed the cinnamon stick.

PeachesI served this with a pork tenderloin that I had rubbed in the Barbeque Rub from The Spice Trader (another local business that I love to frequent); this particular rub has a strong paprika base which complemented the sweet and sour cabbage tastes well. I dried the tenderloin (having seen Julie & Julia the previous night, in which we learned that meat needs to be dry to brown properly), added the BBQ rub, then browned it all over in a bit of olive oil. I put a lid on the skillet then popped it in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes, or until it registered an internal temperature of 145F, then removed it to a carving board and tented it with foil for 15 minutes before carving.

Next time, I’ll try thyme instead of sage to accent the peaches, and maybe a bit of grated orange zest for a sharper citrus undertone. One thing that I really love about a cabbage recipe like this is that it makes great leftovers: the flavours have a chance to blend a bit more by the next day.

Cabbage, onions and peaches are available at the St. Andrew’s Farmers’ Market; I bought mine from Bosco Farms and Loffredo Fruit Farms this week. The market is on every Saturday until October 31st, rain or shine, 9am-1pm.

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