Juniper and cabbage are not the most obvious of bedfellows, but the butter is the marriage broker here. The nuttiness of the butter brings out the slightly resiny flavour of the cabbage which, in turn, sings with the juniper.
And the peppercorns cause the whole to burst into a sort of vegetable Hallelujah chorus – rather unexpected for the usually more staid cabbage. Listen to the real Hallelujah chorus while you make this (at the bottom of this post) – both take about the same amount of time!
This goes well (because of the juniper) with all kinds of game….quail, pheasant, rabbit, venison….and, less obviously, with a truffly fricassee of chicken and mushrooms. It also goes well with a Duck à l’orange with a Negroni Sauce. That recipe uses the same mortar and pestle mix as this one – simply make double.
The cabbage reheats without a problem – try to undercook slightly if you plan to reheat.
Recipe for quick cabbage with juniper, gin and peppercorns
Serves 2 (or you can triple the amount using one average-sized Savoy cabbage)
- 200g/7 oz Savoy cabbage leaves
- 3 juniper berries
- 1 fat clove of garlic
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- 50g/2 oz butter
- 2 tbsps gin
- 3 Indonesian long peppercorns (or about 9 ordinary ones)
- Gently melt the butter in a large wok.
- Meanwhile, peel the garlic and put it in a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, juniper berries and peppercorns and crush.
- Shred the cabbage. Add to the wok. Add the contents of the pestle and mortar. Mix well.
- Add the gin. Stir well.
Here you have Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus