At this time of year, food must be comforting and rich. This isn’t solely to ward off the chill. It’s equally down to the limited selection of seasonal vegetables we have available, and the slow cooking-methods required to process them. Gone are the long Summer days of late-dining and salads made of fresh, raw vegetables. Nature’s harvest in Winter is every bit as delicious, but just needs a little bit more cooking to deliver its best!
One of the long-standing problems with Autumn- & Winter-fare, is that it’s traditionally hugely carb-heavy. The mind immediately conjures up potatoes, pastry, root-vegetables and bread; all of which are ‘off limits’ on a healthy ketogenic-diet. They all send a diabetic’s blood-sugar soaring & you’d have to expend ‘Olympic levels’ of energy to stop your body from storing away all that glucose as fat!
Thankfully, there’s also a huge range of delicious ‘low-carb’ options available. These tick all the boxes in terms of ‘comfort-value’, but save us the bloat and instinctive urge to hibernate, which arises from glucose-overload!
This particular dish is a favourite of mine. I adore food from Bavaria and Southern Germany. The French tend to use red-wine in their cooking, whereas these areas of Germany err more towards the whites. This gives the food a comparative ‘lightness’ which is hard to beat! The strong, robust tastes of mustard and vinegar provide a ‘backbone’ to that lightness, which renders the food fresh-tasting but also hearty.
I used Nordhessische & Nürnberger Bratwurst (purchased from local supermarket), but good results would also be achieved with standard sausages. It’s mainly the wine, mustard and vinegar which contribute to the taste; the rest comes down to availability.
Start by placing a heavy-based casserole onto the hob. Add diced bacon (lardons) and fry until brown. If more fat is required to prevent the bacon from sticking, then add a knob of butter and a splash of oil. Meanwhile, chop onions or shallots into hearty chunks and add these to the pan. These can be followed by whichever vegetables you have to hand; I used celery, green pepper, mushroom courgette and leek. Please note – cabbage comes later!
Whilst the vegetables are sautéing, chop your large Bratwurst into inch-plus chunks. Add these to the pan, with the smaller Nürnberger to follow a couple of minutes later.
Finely chop garlic and parsley stalks and add these to the casserole, then leave it to build up heat for a minute or so, before you deglaze the pan with half a glass of crisp, clean white-wine (such as riesling, or dry Gewürztraminer). Once the liquid has all but evaporated, top up the pan with water until the sausages are up to their necks in it! Add a good teaspoon or so of mustard and a small teaspoon of white-wine vinegar. Place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes with the lid off, which allows the sausages to brown on top.
Meanwhile finely slice your savoy cabbage (circa half). Wash and drain this, then add to the pan when the 20 minutes have elapsed. By this time, the liquid should have reduced by at least half. Sprinkle paprika atop the cabbage, season well, then replace the lid and put back into the oven for 15 minutes until the cabbage is cooked through and tender.
Give the dish a good stir & check for seasoning. Finish by mixing in a knob of butter for richness. Garnish with a generous topping of finely sliced Gouda, drizzle of cream and a sprinkle of parsley. This is most definitely best enjoyed in bowls, with a soup-spoon on hand to make sure you don’t miss out on the rich sauce!
Et voila! Dinner is served.
Thank you for reading and bon ap!
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