Brown cabbage

Brunkål

A dish of cooked brunkål (Swedish brown cabbage)

No, Swedes are not growing an unusual variety of cabbage, brunkål is a way of cooking white cabbage that turns it brown. It is popular in Skåne, in southern Sweden, especially at Christmas time.

Originally the cabbage was cooked in the broth from boiling the Christmas ham, but these days it is often prepared with vegetable stock or even just water to make it suitable for vegetarians. John Duxbury

Summary

Recipe summary for brunkål

Tips

• Brunkål can be made in advance, frozen and then reheated in an oven, microwave or on the hob. It is best frozen in bags, taking care to squeeze out as much air as possible before freezing.
Brunkål should have a nice balance of sweet and sour whilst being slightly salty, so you might need to add a little bit more vinegar or soy sauce towards the end of the cooking time.
• Brunkål addicts prefer the slow cooking method below, as the cabbage ends up browner, perhaps even with a few crispy bits.

Ingredients

1   white cabbage, about 1 kg (2+ lb)
2 litres (2 quarts) water
2 tsp    salt
1 tbsp   syrup
1 tbsp   soy sauce
1 tbsp   vinegar, 12% is possible
250 ml (1 cup) ham stock or vegetable stock
15 g (1 tbsp) butter
    salt and white peppar

Easy method

This is the most common way of cooking brunkål and is based on the recipe in Vår Kokbok, Sweden's most popular cookery book.

1. Pre-heat an oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).

2. Cut the cabbage into four, discard the stalk, any tarnished outer leaves and any very thick parts. Shred the rest into 1-2 cm (½") wide strips.

3. Add the water and salt to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cabbage, simmer for 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly.

Brunkål ready to go into the oven

4. Spread the drained cabbage out in a large shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over the syrup, soy sauce and vinegar and toss thoroughly. Add the stock and dot the top with butter.

5. Cook on the middle shelf for an hour, giving it a stir every now and again.

6. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve hot with julskinka (Christmas ham), revbensspjäll (spareribs) or fläskkorv (pork sausages).

Slow cooking method

The ingredients for the slow method are as above, except you will need a lot more butter.

1. Cut the cabbage into four, discard the stalk, any tarnished outer leaves and any very thick parts. Shred the rest into 1-2 cm (½") wide strips.

2. Add the water and salt to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Blanch the shredded cabbage for five minutes in 3 or 4 batches. Drain thoroughly.

3. Fry each batch in butter in a frying pan (skillet), ensuring that each batch gets browned thoroughly. Drizzle each batch with a little syrup as you fry it. Transfer the browned batches to a large saucepan.

4. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and stock to the saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently with the lid on for an hour and a half, stirring from time to time.

5. Towards the end of the cooking time, if there is still stock left in the pan, simmer uncovered so that you end up with nice sticky brown cabbage, perhaps even with a few crispy bits.

6. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve hot with julskinka (Christmas ham), revbensspjäll (spareribs) or fläskkorv (pork sausages).

Downloads

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