It’s the time of year to embrace mineral-rich leaves and January King is versatile and a nutritional marvel. Our January Kings tend to come from Worthing as cabbages just love the soil over that side of the Sussex downs and that’s where most of our brassicas are grown.
The child of the dense and leafy Savoy and the crunchy white cabbage. January Kings have a distinctive blue-green leaf tinted with a purple blush and a certain amount of the pockets you see on Savoy but are less fleshy. Our chefs find these a really useful multi-purpose cabbage as they can equally steam, stir-fry or serve shredded raw…no waste.
Cooked with meat, pork or bacon is the traditional cabbage companion, but prawns and hot smoked salmon or mackerel also stand up well and of course, butter beans are a creamy and soothing partner.
January King braised with butter and crushed juniper berries in a heavy based pan works similarly to red cabbage as a festive side…if you are musing over these things already!
Caraway is a fragrant spice which doesn’t raise its head very often in modern recipes (as far as we can tell and we spend lots of time looking for new ways to cook veg) but has over time been a fairly traditional partner adding warmth, sweetness and a slight peppery flavour to cabbage and especially works well with a cashew-based nut roast or pork. Cabbage and caraway braised in a heavy based pan…it’s a pretty quick side to prepare and sits well with sweeter veg like carrots and squash..and roasted potatoes like Pink Fir Apple or Mayan Gold.
Incidentally, caraway was used in traditional medicine to treat colic in babies, so should temper cabbage if you find it indigestible..which is probably why in Northern Europe it’s so widely used in traditional cooking.
Cabbage and Caraway Recipe
- 1 Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly slice
- 2-3 tsp caraway seeds
Cook the cabbage in boiling water for 3 mins until tender, then drain. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 mins until starting to soften and turn golden. Sprinkle over the caraway seeds and cook for a further 2 mins until fragrant. Stir in the cabbage and heat through. Serve at once.
Cabbage with Juniper BerriesServes 8
800g (1lb 12oz) savoy cabbage
8 juniper berries
50g (1¾oz) butter
Remove the soft outer leaves from the cabbage (just those that are a bit wilted at the edges) and discard. Quarter the cabbage lengthways and remove the hard central core from each piece. Slice the leaves about 2cm (¾in) thick and wash. Crush the juniper berries in a mortar and pestle. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the cabbage, juniper and some seasoning plus 4 tbsp water. Turn the heat down low, cover the pan and cook for about four minutes, shaking the pan vigorously every so often. Take off the lid, stir and whack up the heat so that any excess water boils off and the butter coats the cabbage. Make sure to grind plenty of pepper over it. Serve at once.
From The Telegraph