Two heads are better than one…

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When I braise my cabbage, I normally add fennel seeds, pancetta, and sherry to the mix and the result is perfect balance of flavors and tasty broth to sop up with crusty bread or pour over creamy German butterball potatoes. I do not happen to have any artisan bread or potatoes on hand today, however I do have some some thinly sliced pork cutlets and the feeling that I can produce a similar flavor profile. And that is where our recipe begins… More…

especially when they are both cabbage! That’s right, cabbage. This humble vegetable has gotten a bad rap, much like the Brussels sprout–maybe it is guilt-by-association. But regardless, the “act of boiling” is the guilty party–not the veg!

It was not that long ago that I made colcannon, which included a fair amount of cabbage, to serve with my husband’s homemade corned beef. While possibly not the healthiest side–for a moment–I believed that I could eat this concoction every day, for the rest of my life, and never tire of it. But logic kicked in and said, “That may be the case, but at some point, your expanding waist would become an actual tire.” Probably so, but it was a nice, all-be-it fleeting inter-dialogue.

But, back to the cabbage; sort of. Several years ago, I periodically frequented a restaurant that had iceberg lettuce wedges on its menu. I thought this insane. Personally, I can not image paying for this. Full disclosure: I do not use salad dressing so if the secret to this menu item’s success is in its accouterments; I apologize. But for me, this just seems like throwing money away. What I am trying to get to is that while this seemed a rather odd idea–the lettuce wedge that is–the idea of a cabbage wedge, does not. Why, you ask? Because…it is no longer a cold water-logged slice of salad slapped on a plate. It is a braised piece of cabbage that is seared on the stovetop, seasoned to perfection, and cooked until tender.

Strangely enough, this post is not about the cabbage wedge I just so lovely spoke of, but rather its brother: the cabbage steak. The reason being, if you recall, I used (and I quote) “a fair amount of cabbage” in my colcannon, but it turned out, not all of it. I was left with two center strips a little over an inch in height; each about the size of a hearty steak.

When I braise my cabbage, I normally add fennel seeds, pancetta, and sherry to the mix and the result is perfect balance of flavors and tasty broth to sop up with crusty bread or pour over creamy German butterball potatoes. I do not happen to have any artisan bread or potatoes on hand today, however I do have some some thinly sliced pork cutlets and the feeling that I can produce a similar flavor profile. And that is where our recipe begins…

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Fennel-crusted Pork

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 thinly-sliced pork cutlets
  • fennel seeds to coat both sides of cutlets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil to coat the fry pan

Cabbage Steaks

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 center sections of leftover savoy cabbage
  • knob of butter and olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few splashed of sherry
  • chicken stock
  • 1 tsp of tarragon, minced

MISE EN PLACE

  1. Allow pork to get to room temp.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Salt, pepper, and fennel crust pork, and set aside.
  4. Make sure salt, pepper, fennel seeds, oil, sherry, and chick stock are within reach.
  5. Take cabbage out of fridge.

STEP ONE
Over medium heat, add a knob of butter and a bit of oil to oven-proof fry pan. Once melted, add cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once golden brown, on lower side, turn and brown on other side, taking care to salt and pepper top side. Remove from pan and set aside.

STEP TWO
In same pan, add oil and then port cutlets. Cook over medium heat until browned, approximately 2 minutes. Turn and cook other side until browned, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from pan, tent, and rest.

STEP THREE
Deglaze the same pan with a few splashes of sherry, scraping bits of goodness from the bottom. Add cabbage back in, add chicken stock to cover half way up the cabbage. Sprinkle fennel seeds over cabbage and into surrounding stock. Pop in the oven and cook until tender. Remove from oven, plate with pork, and garnish with tarragon and a week bit of the pan drippings.

COOK’S NOTES
If making again in the future, I would do a quick brine on the pork as the cutlets are so thin, they can easily dry out when cooking. Letting them get to room temp also aids keeping the meat moist as the meat does not have to heat up before starting to actually cook. And if you have any leftovers from this meal–chopped up–they make a savory addition to a breakfast scramble.

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