Is it just me or is cabbage one of those particularly boring vegetables? Or at least I always thought so, until recently. I mostly just used cabbage in soups or as an afterthought but after discovering the wonders of charred cabbage, I decided to make it today's star. Raw green cabbage is fairly bland with a slightly peppery taste. But take that raw cabbage and char it on the stove until caramelized and all of the sudden, it becomes sweet! Pair the vegetable with a delicious sauce and cheese and you end up with this charred cacio e pepe cabbage with mustard whiskey sauce. I promise you, this dish is anything but boring.
Charred Cacio e Pepe Cabbage with Mustard Whiskey Sauce
- 1 head green cabbage
- 3 tablespoon olive oil divided
- salt and pepper
Mustard whiskey sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup whiskey
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- ¼ cup stone ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Cut the cabbage into 6-8 wedges depending on how large it is. Rub the cut sides of the cabbage with 3 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Place several of the cabbage wedges in the hot pan and cook until caramelized, about 6-8 minutes. Flip over the cabbage and caramelize the other side, another 6-8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cabbage.
- Meanwhile, make the mustard whiskey sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the flour, stirring to coat. Add the whiskey and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute or until thickened.
- Add the chicken stock, stone ground mustard, and honey to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the sauce on a serving plate and place the charred cabbage on top. Sprinkle ½ cup parmesan on top and season with freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Did you know that there are over 400 different kinds of cabbages? I know, I was amazed too. It was only a few weeks ago that I came across pointed cabbage, a variety I had never seen before. Although I'm sure you can use many different cabbages for this recipe, I went with the basic green cabbage. It's easily accessible and won't break the bank.
To make this charred cacio e pepe cabbage, first, cut the cabbage into 6-8 wedges. If your cabbage is particularly large, cut them into 8 wedges. Then, rub olive oil, salt, and pepper, evenly all over the cabbage wedges.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and working in batches, cook the cabbage until charred on both sides. Take your time with this step. We want the sides to be caramelized but you also want to cook the cabbage until tender. You'll know the vegetable is ready when you can easily pierce it with a knife.
If the cabbage is browning too quickly and the inside is still raw, lower the heat to low. You can also grill the cabbage if you prefer.
While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the mustard whiskey sauce. Sure the cabbage will be tasty with just the parmesan and black pepper, but we're going to take it a step further. This mustard whiskey sauce will tie everything together and add some extra pizzaz.
To make the sauce, saute the shallots and garlic until tender. Stir in flour to thicken the sauce, then add the whiskey. Simmer the whiskey, cooking out the alcohol but leaving the whiskey flavor. Then, add the chicken or vegetable broth, stone ground mustard, and honey. Let the sauce simmer, melding all of the flavors together.
Finish the mustard whiskey sauce with a touch of heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the sauce on a serving plate and arrange the charred cabbage on top. Top the cabbage with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan and cracked black pepper. Make sure to use quality parmesan cheese since it adds a ton of umami to the dish.
Cut into the charred cacio e pepe cabbage almost like steaks, and you might trick yourself into thinking you're eating a steak! Okay so not really but the flavors are so good that you won't miss the meat. I know I didn't!
For more side dish inspiration check out these pomegranate balsamic roasted carrots!
Patricia A Brown
Any wonderful liquid substitution for 1/4 cup whiskey? Obviously, it needs be something that combined adds a certain pizzaz to the cabbage!
Cherry on My Sundae
If you're looking for another alcohol, bourbon would work. You can also use white wine but the flavor profile will be different. If you want to omit alcohol completely, you can use more chicken stock instead but again, the flavors will be different than the original recipe.