With the High Holidays on the horizon, I’ve been considering my menus.
Although the main course is fairly traditional — a roast chicken, a brisket, salmon — creativity can blossom with the side dishes. These dishes add color and interest and a visual pop to the table.
The two below hale from opposite sides of the world; the cabbage is a classic Eastern European preparation, and the beans use Indian spices and techniques.
The red cabbage requires a long braise, but after the initial prep, it’s a love-it-and-leave-it recipe, which is great news for a busy host. The beans can also be made ahead and reheated or can be thrown together just ahead of the meal; they require a bit of chopping, but the recipe comes together rather quickly.
Braised red cabbage with apples and honey | Pareve
Serves 8 generously
This makes a large batch; I’m always surprised at how far a head of cabbage goes. The good news is that it keeps well. As for leftovers, think of it like a fancy sauerkraut and use it on sandwiches, to accompany meat or fish or with a charcuterie board.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup white vinegar
1 head red cabbage, sliced thinly
2 apples peeled and cubed
3 -4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the honey, water and vinegar. Bring it to a quick boil, then turn the mixture down to low. Add the red cabbage and apples slowly, mixing the cabbage and apples with the vinegar mixture thoroughly to coat. Once all of the cabbage and apples are coated, add the salt, pepper and bay leaves.
Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours or until the cabbage is very soft. Check it periodically to ensure that it doesn’t burn — add a bit of water if the liquid has evaporated during cooking. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
Masala string beans | Pareve
If beans are not to your liking, you can swap out any other vegetables — greens, peas, carrots, okra, broccoli, cauliflower … or a mélange, which would be gloriously colorful!
A note on the spices: If you do not have all of these items in your cabinet and do not wish to provision for one recipe, there is a handy workaround. Skip the cumin-coriander-turmeric-chili and just use a tablespoon or two of garam masala or curry powder. These blends contain the elements listed below (and other spices besides.)
1 medium white onion finely diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional/to taste)
¼ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 pound green beans sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and all the spices; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomato and cook it for several minutes. Add salt. Add green beans and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender. Garnish it with a handful of chopped cilantro, if desired. PJC
Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.