It sounds like something from a Victorian novel but in fact, I nicked it off of a Marcella Hazan recipe. I made a few changes and additions as you do until it becomes yours. Mine is a version suitable for vegans and most definitely suited for cold, wet nights. It’s very much like cooking a risotto and is an excellent way to use up Balkan winter vegetables.
You can use pickled cabbage or fresh, green or red. For this version I use fresh, red cabbage. I added red peppers toward the end, fresh lemon and bread crumbs. You could, if you wanted, add parmesan cheese, anchovies, chicken and maybe shrimp as well. It’s a lovely basic which is as flexible as you like. The best thing about it is it can come together in about 30 minutes and the hardest thing you have to do is stir.
Cabbage and Rice Stew
A small head of red cabbage
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic (more or less depending on how you like it)
1 cup of Arborio short grained rice
1 cube of vegetable stock or three cups of fresh vegetable stock
1/2 cup of white wine
1 large red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 a lemon
Olive oil for cooking
In good sized deep pot put a good glug of olive oil. then add: chopped garlic, chopped onion and chopped cabbage. Cook on a high heat until soft but don’t let the onions go brown. Add the stock cube with water or the stock. Add the white wine. Add the rice. Let cook on high for a few minutes then turn down the heat to medium. Let reduce making sure to stir regularly. As the rice cooks it will thicken and soak in the broth creating a porridge like texture. Add the red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the consistency is thick. Finish with fresh squeezed lemon and add half a lemon to cook down with the stew. Use fresh breadcrumbs to top it off with.