Photo by: Lord Willliams
During the Middle Ages, it was consumed raw, boiled and with fish or meat as today. Spaniards, from northern regions, eat it with botillo del bierzo (cabbage boiled in an animal’s stomach) or serve it with codfish in Leon. In Galicia, it is boiled in water for three hours in a tightly closed pot or presser cooker with lard from hens and pork, half of a hen, bones and fava beans. It is served in soup bowls.
Since Roman times cow cabbage has been considered the poor man’s food but some recipe books insinuate that Europeans did have some “poor” kings and aristocrats. For the poor and rich eating cabbage was considered to bring good luck in medieval times. The culinary value has been less appreciated then the medical benefits because over cooked cabbage smells awful. [Ares. “Comidas.” 1994:95:97-98:100; ES: Benavides–Barajas. “Cocina.” Sep 29, 01; Curye. 1985:181; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; and ES: Murrah, Nov 12, 02; Fernández Muníz. 1994:188; Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:155; Villar. 1994:182; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a]
KALE LEAF RECIPE ADAPTED FROM NOLA xli-3 PENCAS BE BERZAS
|A favorite for a winter's day|
4 qt broth
1 kale or cow cabbage
100 gr fatty bacon finely sliced
2 onions quartered
Wash kale and quarter the leaves. Add them to a pot. Melt the bacon and pour it into the pot. Add the onions. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and boil gently 10 minutes. When the leaves start to fall apart turn them with a wooden spoon. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and let rest before serving.
To prevent bad odors it is said that one should not over cook. The Spanish Medieval Chef adds a tablespoon of vinegar when adding the cabbage.