Monday, January 6, 2014

A healthful alternative to New Year's "oliebollen." What?

In Holland, people celebrate the New Year by eating oliebollen, something like deep-fried dumplings with apple and raisins.  The literal translation is "oil balls," a most unfortunate and unappetizing word pairing.  Even though it sounds awful, we all know that fried dough tastes delicious on any occasion.  

Here in the U.S., most people from The South (and Louisville is a southern city, like it or not) traditionally consume some type of "good luck" meal on New Year's Day. The standard menu consists of black-eyed peas, some type of greens (usually boiled beyond recognition), and cornbread.  Michel can't stand cornbread but he does like black-eyed peas and greens that still have measurable vital signs.  He's also come up with an ingenious way to prepare cabbage. 

Here's what he made for our New Year's Day dinner: Braised cabbage with (optional) Italian sausages served over black-eyed peas with mushrooms.  Both recipes are totally vegan if you skip the sausages.  

Black-eyed peas with mushrooms--approx. one hour
  • black-eyed peas (about a pound fresh or two cans)
  • a medium onion
  • 8-10 mushrooms—any kind
  • a cup of red wine
  • a carton of vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a teaspoon of porcini powder
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • a teaspoon of thyme
  • salt and pepper 
Remove needles from fresh rosemary stems and chop finely.
Chop the onion and garlic and slice the mushrooms.
Heat 2 tablespoons (or more) of olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot.
Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Cook over med heat until onion becomes translucent.
Add black-eyed peas and wine.  Bring to a boil to cook off the alcohol.
Once the alcohol has dissolved add about half carton of vegetable broth and porcini powder.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, then stir and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about an hour, adding more vegetable broth as needed.

Braised Cabbage with roasted sweet Italian sausage (optional)--approx. one hour
  • Medium head of cabbage, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 4 sweet Italian sausages (optional for vegan)
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes with Italian seasoning
  • a half cup of vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chopped onion, garlic, and red pepper in baking dish.  Lay sausages on top and put in the oven for browning. 

Turn the sausages periodically to make sure they are browning evenly.  
Stir onion, garlic, pepper to prevent burning. 
When the sausages have browned, remove them from the baking dish and cut into slices.
Return sausage slices to baking dish.

Add cabbage, tomatoes, and vegetable broth. 

Return the baking dish to the oven, stirring the mixture every 5-10 minutes to make sure the cabbage is well-mixed/seasoned.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over black-eyed peas with mushrooms.   Delicious with sparkling apple cider on January 1st or any day of the year.  We had a side salad of fresh kale with romesco sauce. Not familiar with romesco?  Recipe coming up!  HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

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