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Pair pork with cabbage for dinner

  • Sweet and Sour Cabbage accompanying a pork chop in New York. It’s a simple, tasty and somewhat unusual meal. AP



Associated Press
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

If you’re tired of the same old vegetable side dishes, here’s a recipe that promotes the lowly red cabbage from side dish to protein partner. All you have to do is cook it up sweet and sour and – voila! – your side dish is now ready to walk down the aisle arm in arm with pork in any form: chops, smoked chops, roast, ham, Canadian bacon, kielbasa, Italian sausages. Really, there’s nothing required – no sauces, no extras – other than cooking the pork and lowering it onto the cabbage. What makes this dish such a good partner for pork? Its sourness cuts right through the meat’s natural fattiness.

Consisting of just six ingredients, this recipe is a snap to make – and the balance of sweet and sour is up to you. My sourpuss family isn’t a fan of sugar in savory dishes, so I added just a single tablespoon of brown sugar to the cabbage. But if the dish then strikes you as too tart, by all means add a second tablespoon or even a tad more.

And by the way, combining red cabbage with an acid – balsamic vinegar, in this case – turns its color from dull blue-ish red to jewel-like pink. All of a sudden, this veggie is scoring an A-plus in visuals – a welcome bonus even if it’s not a very cabbage-y thing to do.

Finally, Sweet and Sour Cabbage can be made a few days ahead and is equally good served hot or cold. In other words, it’s not just a wintertime food. Try it in the summer as a tangy alternative to coleslaw. Grilled hot dogs topped with sweet and sour cabbage anyone?

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark), or to taste

4 cups shredded red cabbage

One 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

Kosher salt

Black pepper

In a large skillet cook the garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring until the sugar is melted. Add the cabbage, tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very tender, about 30 minutes. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid is reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste.