A red cabbage stirfry with ginger and toasted pumpkin seeds plus a wintery Puy lentil soup
November 15, 2010
I was going to do a root vegetable soup recipe this week but when I saw our red cabbage coming in from the Healy’s farm in Wicklow I decided to change tack. They’re enormous!! Don’t worry though, they keep very well in the fridge even after you’ve cut into them.
Like all cabbage, the red kind is packed with iron, calcium, potassium and fibre and is also high in vitamins C, B1, B2. B3 and D. I’ve always tended to use it in salads where it works really well with things like carrots, apple, pears, all kinds of nuts, avocado, goat’s cheese, feta , onion, Asian flavours like soy and mirin ….. Recently though, I’ve start cooking with it and find it works really well in soups and stirfries. As the weather’s turned so nippy my first recipe this week is for a kind of lentil soup/stew that is perfect for this kind of weather. It’s really simple to make and it’s a great way to get kids (big and small!) to eat loads of vegetables. As lentils are so nutritious (they also lower cholesterol I found out recently) this dish is a meal in itself, especially if you eat it with some brown rice. This recipe will give you enough for about 4 or 5 servings. Leftovers will freeze well or make a very quick lunch the next day.
I should say that the list of ingredients is not at all prescriptive but a guide – feel free to add any root veg you have lying around as well as celery, peppers and tomatoes. If you have spuds don’t add them until after the first half hour of cooking as they will fall apart and go to mush. Courgettes don’t really work as they just disintegrate and aubergines need too much precooking which just slows things down too much.
Puy Lentil Vegetable Soup
3 medium onions
3 medium carrots
1/2 head garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried (don’t worry too much if you don’t have this)
A couple of bay leaves
1/2 large red cabbage or 1 small one
1 tin chopped tomatoes
250gr Puy lentils (or any other kind you have)
2L vegetable stock (as usual I use Marigold)
As time is almost always of the essence for me, rather than preparing all the veg before I start, I chop and add the ingredients to the pot as I go.
So, begin by chopping your onions then saute over a low to medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil (ie enough to stop you having to stir things constantly). As the onions get going, dice your carrots and throw them in followed by the mushrooms (roughly chopped). Add some salt, the thyme and bay leaves and turn up the heat slightly to allow the veg to fry rather than sweat for a few minutes. Roughly chop your garlic and throw it in turning down the heat slightly. Shred the cabbage and add that too. Cook for a few more minutes then add the tomatoes. Rinse the lentils and throw them in along with the stock.
Allow things to come to the boil then turn down the heat and cover. Cook for about 50 minutes stirring occasionally.
To serve drizzle a little Sherry vinegar or sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Another recent discovery for red cabbage has been stirfried with rice which goes well with fish, tofu or dahl. Either way, the red cabbage makes any dish look gorgeous. I tend to cook some brown rice at the beginning of the week so I’ve always got something to take the panic out of cooking midweek. I prefer the shortgrain brown type which apart from being really, really good for you, has a delicious nutty flavour. You’ll find it in your local healthfood shop (The Hopsack in Rathmines is my fav).
Stir-fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and toasted Pumpkin seeds(for 2)
Enough brown rice for 2 people
1/2 red cabbage
4-5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
A piece of ginger about the size of your thumb peeled and minced
Fresh or dried chilli (optional)
A handful of pumpkin seeds
Begin by chopping the onions and shredding your cabbage. Heat some vegetable oil on the pan and throw on the onions and toss them over a medium to high heat for a few minutes. Add the Cabbage and continue to toss everything. Turn down the heat a bit and add the garlic and ginger along with a little chilli of you fancy some heat. Continue cooking until the cabbage has wilted and the garlic has softened.
Add the rice and continue cooking until it has warmed through then turn off the heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds on a dry pan over a medium heat until they have started to pop and change colour. Mix them through the rice along with a dash of soy sauce or tamari and serve.