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Thursday, September 18, 2008

bubble & squeak, deconstructed (savory sauteed cabbage with roasted potatoes)


my competitive nature

So my friend sends me the link to this foodie blog with luscious photos of her recipes, and says “check out the bubble & squeak cakes recipe! Have you tried it? It looks interesting!” (Bubble & squeak is a British dish of mashed potatoes and leftover cooked cabbage, fried up in a pan until browned.) Now that my own blog is up and running, I have a whole new attitude, checking out veganyumyum—kind of a competitive edge there, I have to admit. OK, so she’s won awards and stuff, and god knows her photos are beautiful. It’s very nicely done.

But a lot of her recipes are a little more involved than I’m willing to consider. You know, cute little individual-sized portions of desserts, stacked and layered appetizers, recipes that require a pastry bag and such things. I’m into delicious, super healthy, and EFFICIENT vegetable cookery. Yeah, maybe you have to soak beans overnight for some of my recipes, but it’s not like you have to monitor them while they’re rehydrating. You know what I mean—give me a big bang for my buck. I want great flavor for time spent prepping and firing those veggies.

I email my friend back and tell her to try my Savoy cabbage and potatoes with pesto recipe. That doesn’t involve mashing potatoes, shaping anything into patties, coating them with flour, or pan-frying them in margarine (isn’t this a non-food item?). “Yeah, yeah…” she says. I can tell, she’s not convinced. She’s still drawn inexorably toward the allure of the little browned patties in the (admittedly lovely) photos. I’d like to tell her about the spattering grease all over her kitchen, and that shaping those patties may not be as fun as it looks in the photo. But I resist. She’s a big girl; she can make her own decisions.

So then I go out for my afternoon run and I’m slogging along the muddy trail in the pouring-down-freezing-cold-rain, thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. From the farmers’ market, I have cabbage, onions and new potatoes. And I picked up a carton of those baby portabella mushrooms from Costco last week, intending to make cabbage & mushrooms with dill on toast. But then I remembered that I had forgotten to thaw out a loaf of our sourdough bread for the toast. And then I thought—BUBBLE & SQUEAK, DECONSTRUCTED! YES! I’ll cook the cabbage, onions & mushrooms as intended, and serve it up with garlic-roasted potatoes instead of toast! And this recipe was born. I hope my friend likes it. I sure do! 

I wonder what vegan yum-yum will think of it? 

bubble & squeak, deconstructed

“Bubble & squeak” is a British dish made of mashed potatoes and leftover cabbage, fried in a skillet until browned.  Here’s my version, using different cooking methods for each of the two components, to bring out the best qualities of each vegetable. My version, though, is easier than pan-frying the original recipe! I made it with local onions, local cabbage, and local new potatoes! I think the cabbage part of this dish tastes even better the day after you make it (but of course the potatoes are never as good as they are right out of the oven!).

The cabbage part of the recipe is based on a galette filling recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. You can double the recipe if you have a big enough skillet—the cabbage mixture keeps really well in the fridge or freezer. Also, you can take or leave the mushrooms. It adds depth of flavor, but if you don’t happen to have them hanging around, make this dish anyway! If you happen to have fresh thyme or fresh dill, use them, but just double the amounts of the dried herb.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4-8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional—fine if you don’t have them)
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried dill
6-8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (Savoy or regular green cabbage)
¼ cup chopped parsley
garlic-roasted potatoes (recipe below)

1. Chop all your vegetables for the cabbage while you’re preheating the oven for the potatoes. Then dice the potatoes and get them into the oven (as per instructions, below).
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, garlic, and herbs and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the cabbage, another ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup water. Cover and cook slowly until the cabbage is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning it occasionally. Add more liquid as necessary. When tender, uncover and raise the heat to evaporate some excess moisture, but it’s OK if it’s a little soupy.
4. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve alongside the roasted potatoes!

garlic-roasted potatoes

2 pounds waxy potatoes (such as Butterball, Yukon Gold, or Purple Viking)
garlic oil (recipe follows, in Step 1.)
sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Make garlic oil: Mash or mince 3 or 4 garlic cloves and cover with ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Let steep for 30 minutes if you have time. Strain out the garlic and store the oil in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Toss them in a bowl with a few spoonfuls of garlic oil, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and toss well.
3. Lightly oil a large baking dish or sheet pan, and transfer the potatoes onto it, making sure that a cut side of each potato is touching the pan. (The side touching the pan will brown nicely). Roast the potatoes until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Scrape and toss the potatoes after 25 minutes or so to brown more than one side.

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