Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Braised Cabbage with Ham

Last night I had dinner with some friends at a local pizza place. We got onto the topic of conversation of America's perception of Italian cuisine. We discussed how one popular Italian chain restaurant (that I would like to remain nameless) makes traditional dishes that are incredibly Americanized with huge portions and lots of cheese. Some of these dishes can be up to 2,000 calories! Italian cuisine is definitely more diverse than big bowls of pasta, oozing cheese, and greasy pepperoni.

An example of real Italian home cooking can be seen in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Silver Spoon (Il cucchiaio d'argento). I imagine this is Italy's version of America's Better Homes and Gardens or Betty Crocker cookbooks. Meaning, everyone has this book on their shelves and it's a classic reference. It has basic recipes, like pie dough and chicken broth, as well as much more complex ones. The Silver Spoon is not categorized by meal course, but by ingredient, as in there is a vegetable section and within that each vegetable has its own section. There is a meat section with everything from common beef cuts to unusual game meat. One thing I love about it, contrary to the viewpoint of America, it's not bursting with pasta recipes. Sure, there is a large section, but over 3/4 is devoted to other foods like meats, rice dishes, vegetables, appetizers (antipasti), and desserts. To illustrate my point, here is a recipe inspired by the cabbage sections. I didn't want to take the time to stuff cabbage leaves, so I made a cabbage saute. As with most Italian cuisine, pork products are typically included. I used lean ham instead of guanciale (bacon prepared from pork jowl and cheek) because I simply could not find it and because the lean ham is lighter in calories.

Braised Cabbage with Ham
Printable Recipe

4 oz cubed ham
2 cloves garlic
1 medium sweet onion
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more, as needed
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar, or more to taste
non-stick cooking spray

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the ham and saute until it become lightly browned, then add the garlic and onion. Cook the onion until translucent.
2. Add the carrots, cabbage and broth and season with salt and pepper; cook for about 5 minutes or until the broth evaporates, the carrots are crisp-tender, and the cabbage is tender. Allow the onions and cabbage to lightly brown. Add a splash more broth if the vegetables start sticking. Season with the vinegar.

  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 102
  • Fat: 2.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 16 mg
  • Sodium: 429 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
  • Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fat: 7.2 g

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious and is cholesterol, sodium, and fat friendly. Would be great on a cold night with some homemade biscuits! Mina