Cabbage was brought to America by the Pilgrims, but continues to be reintroduced by the Germans, French, Mexicans, Chinese -- and the Washington Post Food Section. It is a vegetable of endless possibilities, of textures and flavors that differ surprisingly with each cooking variation. Thus, publishing Judith Huxley's cabbage recipes last November only led to more. Here is a second installment from her collection. BOLIVIAN STUFFED WHOLE CABBAGE (6 to 8 Servings) 1 large savoy cabbage, about 3 to 4 pounds 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 pounds ground pork 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 or more fresh hot green peppers, seeded and chopped, or 2 or 3 canned jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped 1/2 cup raisins, soaked 10 minutes in warm water and drained 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, halved crosswise 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon thyme Salt and pepper to taste Beef or chicken stock 1 recipe salsa de jitomate (see below)
Trim the cabbage, removing any wilted outer leaves. Drop the cabbage into a large pot full of briskly boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Lift out the cabbage into a colander and let it drain thoroughly. When it is cool enough to handle, place it on a large square of double cheesecloth and carefully open the outer leaves, spreading as flat as possible without breaking them off. Cut out the heart of the cabbage. Cut away as much of the core as you can while leaving the cabbage intact. Chop the heart and set aside.
To make the meat mixture, saute the ground pork in the oil in a large, heavy skillet until it is lightly browned, stirring to break up any lumps. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes longer. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well and simmer, uncovered, over moderate heat, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage heart to the meat mixture. Form the meat mixture into a ball and pack it into the center of the cabbage. Press the outer leaves back into shape, reforming the cabbage. Gather up the cheesecloth and tie it up with string. Put the cabbage into a large saucepan into which it fits comfortably and pour in enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Lift out into a round serving dish or soup tureen, untie and slide out the cheesecloth, lifting the cabbage with a spatula to do so. Spoon a little salsa de jitomate over the cabbage and serve the rest in a sauceboat. To serve, cut the cabbage in wedges. Accompany with rice. SALSA DE JITOMATE (Makes about 2 1/2 cups) 1 medium onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped 2 canned serrano chilies, chopped 1/8 teaspoon sugar Salt to taste 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Combine the onion, garlic, tomatoes and chilies in a blender or food processor and puree briefly. The puree should retain some texture and not be too smooth. Season with the sugar and salt. Heat the oil in a skillet, pour in the tomato mixture and cook, stirring over moderate heat until it is thick and well blended, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. From Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's Book of Latin American Cooking. TANZANIAN CABBAGE BALLS (6 servings) 1 small firm head cabbage, about 1 pound 1/2 pound calf's liver 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup onion, minced 1/3 cup green pepper, minced 1/3 cup tomato, peeled and minced 2 cups cooked rice 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Shred the cabbage very fine, discarding all coarse ribs and core. Put the liver through the coarse grid of a food mill, or process briefly in a food processor. In a skillet, over a rather high flame, heat the oil and, stirring constantly, cook the onion and green pepper until they are slightly browned. Stir in tomato and cook for another moment or so. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cabbage, liver, rice salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool slightly. Form in compact balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the cabbage-liver balls until very brown on all sides. Serve while hot with salsa fria (see recipe below). SALSA FRIA 1 to 3 small hot peppers, seeded, finely chopped 1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped 3 firm-ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped 2 medium cloves garlic, mashed 1 tablespoon parsley, minced 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, if available Hot pepper sauce to taste
Thoroughly combine all ingredients and allow to mellow for several hours. Serve at room temperature. From a World of Vegetable Cookery