I am in complete amazement regarding my accomplishments in the garden. It is the second week of January and I still have an ample selection of items to keep me from needing to use a market for more than a rounding out of a meal – onions, garlic, citrus and avocados seem to be what I am purchasing to take home. Now, by all accounts it has been a mild winter, which is no burden for a sun-loving, sweltering heat-loving creature like myself. However, I have been advised that I will have to cross the divide between growth and rest. Yes, my little plot needs some time to replenish itself by being fed the compost I have been turning for almost the past year augmented with well aged manure and a weekend rental – that roto tiller that took me down last year. I have been given a February 1st deadline to have all my darlings consumed so next year’s round will be well fed, just as we have been this year.
Today I am starting by finally seizing the remaining cabbage plants from the garden that have been there from day one. They have survived spring, summer and fall allowing me to pinch a head in each season, and now, with their final hours approaching I will use the small clusters that have formed in tonight’s dinner. I had read that if you snip the large, dense cabbage head but leave the rest of the plant a less robust heads will form giving you multiple harvests off a single planting – I put four cabbage plants in the garden. I am slowly, but surely, clipping the leaves from the broccoli that longer has the energy to produce any flowers, and have made stir fries and oven crisps with great frequency this winter. Though I think a will most likely take my Romanesque broccoli last for its flower is taking the longest to develop. Spying into the center of the leaf mass I see nascent, coral looking formations, and I beg them to hurry up – what if a hard, extended freeze comes along!
Pork, Cabbage and Potato Stew – yields 6 servings
1-1/2 pounds boneless pork butt
½-pound smoked sausage – such as Andouille, Kielbasa – cut into 1-inch pieces
2- large onions – peeled and sliced into ½-inch half moon shape
5-garlic cloves – chopped
1-teaspoon caraway seed
1-teaspoon celery seed
12-cups roughly chopped cabbage leaves (or combination of cabbage/cauliflower leaves)
1-1/2 pounds potato – such as Yukon gold or French fingerlings – cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat a 12-quart casserole pot over a medium high heat, and add the pork but and sausage. Allow the meat to brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot, and hold in a bowl.
Into the pot add the onions and garlic, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes to lightly brown – stirring occasionally. Then mix in the caraway and celery seeds cooking for a minute longer. Return the meat to the pot and place the cabbage leaves over the meat. Put on the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Once the leaves have wilted down a bit add the potatoes, and salt and pepper. Return the lid, and lower the heat to low, and cook for about 2 to 3 hours.
Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. The pork should fall apart, if not, use a spoon to break up the pork. Serve garnished with grainy mustard.