Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cabbage with lamb pancetta and cumin -- cooking from the fridge on a snow day

Successful cooking from the pantry and refrigerator is a function of what you have in them.  A few six packs (which we don't have) and some sour milk (which we almost always do) doesn't get you to far.  The snow storm was a bit of a snooze, but were able to console ourselves with cabbage cooked with lamb pancetta in what I imagine is something of an Uzbek style, seasoned with cumin, red pepper and garlic.  All you need is lamb pancetta, cabbage, cumin, Maras biber, scallions and soy in your fridge or pantry.  Not such a stretch, right?

Sauteed cabbage, this time with lamb pancetta

  • 1-2 ounces lamb pancetta or bacon (or the regular kind if you eat it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • large pinch Aleppo or Maras pepper
  • 5-6 scallion, about 1/4-1/2 cup when trimmed and sliced
  • 1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 a medium head), remove core and cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • 1 clove sliced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg's aminos or soy sauce

  1. Cut the lamb pancetta into fine dice.  If it is already thinly sliced into rounds, cut into thirds crosswise and then shred.
  2. Fry the pancetta over medium low heat until much of the fat is rendered out, and what remains is crisp.  Keep and eye on it so that the fat doesn't smoke and burn.  This should take between 5 and 10 minutes.
  3. Removed the cracklings with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  4. Add the cumin and saute on medium-low until they darken slightly.  Add the pepper and stir.  Add the scallions and saute for another 5 minutes or so until soft.
  5. Add the cabbage, and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the heat down to low if the fat starts to smoke or the cabbage starts to burn.
  6. About 10 minutes in, add the garlic.  You want it to cook but not burn.
  7. The cabbage is done when it is soft, green in some parts, and caramelized in others.  
  8. Add the Braggs or soy and cook a few minutes more.
  9. Garnish with reserved lamb cracklings and serve.

Variations: They are endless so I son't bother to list them.  Cook it in schmaltz and garnish with grieben, using salt instead of soy here.  Cook it in vegetable oil and add fresh herbs.  Dill and cabbage go great together.  See my post on Cabbage and Marriage for a number of vegetarian Indian variations, and use your imagination from there.