Uncommon Food for the Common Man

Great food is worth the time to make it

Pork, more than the other white meat

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Had a dream last night and pork was the main theme.

It seems I stopped by the Ramen Truck in Portland, something I have not done yet while awake.

I ordered a bowl, and out came some Ramenish item which I dug into. It had sausage!? in it.

I do remember it being yummy, but all wrong. (In fact, the whole process was wrong. They did not ask me my choice of broth, toppings, additions, etc. Perhaps it was a reaction to other web wanderings in which news of Boke Bowl getting a place to call home and their drop-in monthly events in which a fusion inspired bowl of ramen is served.)

Anyhow, it fit in with recent meals and musings over pork and the humble cabbage pairings.

A favorite of ours is Steamed Cabbage and Thin-sliced Pork. It is quite simply that and a little konbu (kelp), sake, salt and crushed red pepper. My wife said she ate that a lot in college as it was cheap, filling and good. See recipe below.

Other recipes are just as simple – green cabbage and kielbasa, pasta with bacon and cabbage, and of course sauerkraut and sausage.

You can get a little more complex with stuffed cabbage, but that is just anotherĀ  in the vast array of this ‘peasant’ comfort food.

Cabbage was, and still is, an easy to grow and inexpensive vegetable many turn to in hard times. Lots of these recipes were handed down through generations and are standards in various ethnic cuisines. You may not find them as entrees in the finest restaurants, but with their ease of preparation it is simple to make at home. With today’s economic climate, cabbage and pork pairing may just make a comeback.

I look forward to other discoveries of this wonderful pairing, perhaps a Korean inspired kimchi and ground pork creation? There are bound to be other Asian recipes involving cabbage and pork, they are just out there to be discovered.

Steamed Pork and Cabbage

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

1/2 head of Napa cabbage
1/2 pound of thinly-sliced pork
small 1" x 2" or so piece of dried kelp
1/2 to 1 tsp of dried red pepper
2 tbsp of sake
salt to taste
Ponzu (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse cabbage and cut top or bottom of cabbage to about the size of a medium sauce pan. If using bottom cut off stem part. We use our 3 quart one. Rinse, and arrange in bottom of pan or in a metal vegetable strainer in the pan. It should fit fairly tight in there.
  2. Arrange slices of pork between the leaves of the cabbage. Depending on how your pork is cut, you should cut to at least half the cabbage leaf size. Thin sliced pork is available from Asian stores in many types and sold as sukiyaki or shabu-shabu meat. Or you can get your butcher to slice you up some pork loin or pork shoulder.
  3. Cut kelp into small pieces arrange evenly in leaves or just place on top.
  4. Sprinkle red pepper and salt on top, drizzle sake over top.
  5. Cover and heat over medium low to medium heat until pork is cooked, about 15 minutes. The cabbage will release quite a bit of water to steam the dish. Keep an eye on it and you can take it off the heat as the cabbage is done to your liking as long as the pork is cooked through.
  6. Serve immediately with white rice and drizzle with ponzu if you like.
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