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Friday, April 26, 2013


Photo by: Lord-Williams
L. Brassica, Fr. caboche (head), ME coboches, cobaches, colewort, sea colewort, cool (cabbage or kale) Eng. cabbage. The cole family has innumerous species, including cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli. There is doubt as to whether this plant is a native of Europe or of China. The first record of it is by Confucius who mentioned its existence in China (497 B.C.). Those believing that it originated in northern Europe think that the Celts spread it east and south to the Mediterranean. Some say the Romans took it to England.

Medieval cabbage was more leafy than today. In England, normally it was boiled in broth with onions and leeks for pottages and stews. Arabs brought cabbage recipes to Spain including stuffed and stewed. It was added to pottages and almond soup and served as salads. Cole slaw in England was made with garum, oil, vinegar, sugar and onion and seasoned with cumin, caraway and coriander. Cabbage salads in Asturias are a mixture of apples, bacon and cabbage.

Forme of Curye shows cabbages were often eaten in English households. Cabbage was a favorite of Chaucer’s Summoner with other garden vegetables. In the 15th C Lord Grey served cabbage, at a banquet in a pottage with parsnips, turnips and pears. Other English recipes combined broad beans or oatmeal with cabbage. Curye on Inglysch provides a recipe pickling cabbage.

Cabbage has been eaten throughout Spain. In León and Asturias it has been basic in their cuisine from time immemorial. Andrés Laguna, 15th C. Segovian physician, stated that in Germany and part of Bavaria it was marinated to preserve it for a year. Andalusians, for the same reasons, kept their cabbage in a pickle sauce. It has been stated that people of the Middle Ages “pickled anything that does not move.”

Chopping and Cooking Cabbage
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Cato, the Elder (234-149 BC), stated: "that cabbage treats ulcers on the breast, supporating wounds, and cancers." Today, it is known to be a good substance against cancer. Egyptians started drinking the seeds to combat intestinal worms. If eaten at the end of the meal, it would stop all the damage the wine has done and inebriation. Prior to eating, Romans ate cabbage soaked in vinegar not only as food but also to counter alcohol excess. Dioscorides said that lightly cooked cabbage softened the stomach. In the 12th C, Avenzoar cautioned that it was the worst vegetable in existence for it generates epilepsy, leprosy, scabbies, black bile and hypnotic effects. He did allow that eaten boiled or raw, it cleared the voice and helped prevent snoring. To reduce tumors, he prescribed the application of cabbage in plaster form. Today, the leaves externally applied to ulcerations relieve them.

It has been found that cabbage has anti-mutagenic activity (preventing mutations) but scientists have yet to prove that there is any antitumor action when applied topically. A honey and cabbage root mixture was administered to patients with whooping cough. As the Dutch navy lived on sauerkraut, it was thought they used it to prevent scurvy. Today, it is known that it contains a large quantity of Vitamin C. A couple of spoonfuls a day mixed with sugar and honey helps fight bronchial colds. See col forrajera and cuello. [Curye. 1985:175:181; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Groundes-Peace. 1971:17; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:84; and Sass. 1975:22]

For 12 persons

Mashing Strained Cabbage in a Mortar
Photo by: Lord-Williams

½ lb meat diced
¼ lb old cheese diced
1 onion chopped with 1 tbsp cilantro
1 heads of cabbage
1 tsp murri
1 tbsp vinegar
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp caraway
2 eggs

For the dough:
¾ c flour
½  pk dry yeast
1/8 tsp salt
¼ c milk
½ tbsp melted butter

shredded cheese
A Delicious Dish!
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Bring meat, cheese, onion and cabbage to a boil. Remove from heat. Strain off broth  and reserve.  Pound all in a wooden mortar and set aside.

For the dough:
Combine flour, yeast and salt. Make a hole in the middle and add milk and butter. Knead for 10 minutes by hand. When smooth roll it into a ball. Place in a bowl coated with olive oil and cover with a cloth. Leave for 45 minutes or until it rises to almost double in size.

Bring the broth to a boil. Tear off pieces of dough and add them to the broth. Wisk the mixture until blended. Gently simmer 20 minutes to cook out the starchy flavor.

Return the cabbage mixture to pot and boil again.  Add murri, vinegar, pepper  
and caraway. Reduce heat to stimmer. When the broth stops boiling, stir in beaten eggs. Continue stirring until the desired thickness is reached. 

Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish and grill to melt and toast the cheese and serve. 

This is a dish recommended for cabbage lovers and for those who normally dislike it as they will lick the plate clean!  

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