Spicy Simmered Cabbage and Tomatoes

Cabbage and Tomatoes

This is a simple, but hearty dish that takes just minutes to prepare and cook.

First I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a pan and heated it with a tsp of anise seed, bring out the aroma. While it heated, I cut up one onion in thin slices and diced two garlic cloves and tossed them in the oil to soften. I added salt and pepper.

While the onions cooked, I cut up 1/4 of a head of cabbage, cutting wedges about 1/2 inch thick or so and then slicing the wedges in half. I broke them up with my fingers as I dropped them into the pan of onions and garlic and added a bit of salt and pepper. I let them sauté for a few minutes before adding one 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I just use the Safeway® store brand which is only $0.69 a can. I added some water to the can (about half full) and swished it around before pouring it into the pan to add a bit more liquid. Then I let everything simmer until the cabbage was tender, but toothsome, removing it before the cabbage lost all of its green color.

You can serve this on top of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or cooked sausage or, just serve it on its own. It’s got a lot of heat from the chiles, but the touch of anise softens that flavor and adds complexity. This is not a single serving recipe by any means, but it reheats into 4 different single servings.

Lamb Neck Braised with Turnip and Sweet Potato

Lamb Neck Braised

Groceries are becoming incredibly expensive, especially meat. When I saw Safeway had lamb neck for only $3.49 a pound i decided to try it. I love the flavor of lamb but have mainly cooked shoulder roasts, shanks or chops. Being neck bones, I knew the meat would probably be tough, the more connective tissue there is, the tougher the meat tends to be. Neck bones are considered offal – the cheap cuts that are often neglected. Sometimes for good reason, but in this case, it turned out to be wonderful. So with tough meat, the trick is to cook low and slow, so I decided to braise it.

I preheated the oven to 300° Fahrenheit.

I put this big skillet on the stove with about 2 TBSP of olive oil and heated the oil. I added 2 pinches of cardamom and a pinch of cumin, 1 small chopped yellow onion and 2 diced gloves of garlic with a bit of salt and pepper.. When the onion was tender, I added the neck bones – about 2/3rds of a pound, added salt and pepper and browned them.

Meanwhile I scrubbed 2 carrots and cut them into big pieces (the more you chop up your carrots, the more nutrients leach out.) Then I chopped up 2 celery stalks. I peeled 1 turnip and 1 sweet potato and cut them into chunks as well. I added to the mix with some salt and pepper and stirred. Then I added 1 can of diced tomatoes and then filled the can with water and added that as well.

Then I popped in the oven and let cook slowly for what seemed like days but was only 2 hours. My apartment was redolent of the aroma of lamb, tomatoes, cardamom and all this goodness that the time passed slowly. But it was so worth the wait!

The turnip and cardamom really make this recipe, the tart sweetness of turnip was exactly what was needed to add a grace note to this hearty meal. The tomatoes and carrots added sweetness, the celery gave it an earthy base and the sweet potato added flavorful substance. It was so delicious I actually used my finger to clean the broth from the pan.

Please note that I added salt and pepper with each new step. The reason is that you should always season what you are cooking in the moment, adding the season again with new ingredients. Not only will it taste better, you are less likely to overseason it.

This made four servings of stew – and with just $2.09 worth of meat. Definitely a rich meal that is not costly. In fact, it’s only $1.42 per serving – excluding the cost of spices.

  • $2.09 Lamb
  • $1.69 Sweet Potato
  • $0.45 Turnip
  • $0.10 Carrot
  • $0.21 Celery
  • $0.32 Onion
  • $0.12 Garlic
  • $0.69 Diced Tomatoes