Saturday, October 13, 2007

Company Cabbage & a little bit about Paprika

Until 15 years or so ago I didn't know much of anything about paprika, really, except that I had a can of it on my shelf. Then I read somewhere about how paprika gets bugs if the can is left on your spice shelf. I opened my can, and oh my. Yuck. And I learned that paprika is supposed to be stored in the refrigerator all the time. Hmmmpf. My frig is already so full, I hated to add to its abundance of jars and bottles that tell me to "Refrigerate after opening." Sigh. Oh well. I bought a good can of "Hungarian Paprika" at the gourmet supermarket (see larger can in photo below). I've had it for some years; it lives in the refrigerator, and has been just fine. But the can is getting low.

As luck would have it, we're going on a trip in a few weeks, and I'll be in Hungary, so I'll definitely stock up on paprika while I'm there. Only problem with buying it there is that the labels are in Hungarian, naturally. I don't speak that language, sorry to say. I bought a couple of small containers the last time I was in Budapest and when I opened them up at home, I found it was something else altogether. Paprika based, a paprika seasoning for making paprikash, but not pure paprika. Hopefully when we're in Budapest, I'll find a store and they'll speak enough English that I can buy replacements. There is a very large spice market in Budapest, right on the river, so I hope to stop there and will find what I need.

Here's the paprika I currently have living in my refrigerator. I use them a lot, actually. A few years ago I attended a cooking class at Sur la Table and the chef used Spanish Smoked Paprika (the smaller can). It was an eye-opening wake up of my taste buds. Loved it. It definitely has a smoky taste. I also have a jar of half-sharp paprika too (oops, I forgot to photograph that one) which I use sometimes. Hungarians use lots of paprika in their cuisine, and they like it in all guises and strengths of mild to hot. But they tend toward the hot. So, the half-sharp (half-hot) is about my speed.

When I was making cooked cabbage, and the recipe called for paprika, I gathered my myriad paprikas and "had at it." This was a recipe from my friend, Karen B, from her archives. It just sounded good, and it is. We like cabbage, but I tend to make it the same-old-way, with bacon, onions, vinegar or maybe apple in it. This is a bit different - with green onions, carrot and beef broth. Since I had some diced pancetta in the refrigerator, I decided to add that to the mixture too. Grating it was too much trouble, so I just diced them. I used young carrots anyway, so that wasn't difficult. This dish comes together quickly, once you have all the ingredients ready to go. It made a great accompaniment to grilled Italian sausages for our dinner. Here's a photo of the onions and pancetta cooking away.

Company Cabbage
Recipe: adapted from my friend, Karen B
Servings: 8
1/3 cup pancetta -- minced
5 cups cabbage -- shredded
1 cup carrots -- shredded or chopped
1 cup green onions -- chopped or 1 whole onion, halved, sliced
3 T butter
1/4 cup beef broth -- or water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1. Have all ingredients chopped and sliced at the start.
2. Melt butter over high heat in large skillet. Add pancetta and saute briefly. (If using a yellow onion instead of green ones, add them with the pancetta and saute both until the onion has started to become translucent, then continue.) Then add cabbage, carrots, and green onions; pour in beef broth or water. Stir to blend, then immediately cover and cook at high heat, stirring several times, until tender and liquid is evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, paprikas and mustard. Stir in thoroughly until blended. Serve immediately.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 350 Calories; 35g Fat (88.6% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 100mg Cholesterol; 801mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 7 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a PDF recipe, click title at top.

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