Monday, 29 September 2008

Cabbage and Chorizo with Chateau Chadeuil

Cabbage is a vegetable that you either love or hate but if you follow the recipe below I believe that most cabbage haters would turn over a new leaf! Greeks and Romans placed great importance on the healing powers of cabbage, thinking the vegetable could cure just about any illness. The Roman's believed that cabbages sprung from the tears of of a king and the Emperor Claudius called upon his Senate to vote on whether any dish could surpass corned beef and cabbage. (The Senate voted that cabbage reigned supreme).

Egyptian Pharaohs would eat large quantities of cabbage before a night of drinking, thinking that it would allow them to drink more alcohol without feeling the effects – in fact there is a hang over cure still used which uses cabbage with vinegar as a remedy. My Grandad always used to drink the water from the boiled cabbage . . . he always proclaimed it was good for the body. He lived to 95 and never had a real medical problem throughout all his years.

Captain Cook swore by the medicinal value of sauerkraut (cabbage preserved in brine) back in 1769. His ship doctor used it for compresses on soldiers who were wounded during a severe storm, saving them from gangrene.

The word Cabbage comes from the old French (Normano-Picard) “caboche” (head) and the French use the modern word for cabbage “chou” as a term of endearment eg “ma petite chou” (my little cabbage). The USA has the French to thank for introducing them to cabbage - it was French navigator Jacques Cartier who brought cabbage to the Americas in 1536.

Cabbage and Chorizo

Chorizo is a Spanish sausage – rather like salami – which comes from the Iberian peninsula. It has a distinctive smoky flavour and dark red colour from dried, smoked red peppers. It is made with chopped pork and seasoned with paprika and is delicious!

1 large cabbage
100g chorizo (unsliced)
1 clove garlic
tsp coriander seeds
50g butter

Shred the cabbage, cut the chorizo into bite size chunks and finely chop the garlic. Fry the coriander seeds gently in the butter for about a minute and then add the garlic, cabbage and chorizo. Turn the heat up and cook, stirring well for about 5 minutes. Add about 100ml water, cover the pan and turn down the heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender, check regularly and add more water if starts to stick.

Try this dish with Chateau Chadeuil (£4.85) – it's a super wine with beautiful aromas of blackberries, black cherries, mocha, spiced plums and a hint of vanilla. It's a medium bodied, rounded wine with well balanced tannins with a long silky smooth finish. It's fantastic value, knocks the spots off more expensive clarets and comes highly recommended by Jonathan Ray of the Telegraph.

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