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Early Winter - Sides and Sauces

[Do Not Use]DK Publishing logo[Do Not Use]DK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
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Season’s best cabbages and brussels sprouts

All cabbages and Brussels sprouts are delicious raw and cooked. Brussels are traditional for the festive season but are good through to early spring. Cabbages are best in winter but varieties are available all year. Red and white ones are good with fruits, nuts, and seeds; green ones and sprouts with nuts or curry pastes and are particularly good with pork products and celery.

Savoy cabbage

The attractively crinkled leaves are more loosely wrapped around the head than those of other cabbages and are more full-bodied in flavor.

The steamed leaves make excellent wrappers for many savory fillings.

Brussels sprouts

These grow on stalks, traditionally maturing from the base up. Modern hybrids mature all at the same time. The green tops are also eaten.

Look for tight, small heads, with no yellow outer leaves.

Red cabbage

Offering beautiful and vibrant color, red cabbage is sweeter than white but the leaves are tougher, so they take longer to cook.

White cabbage

Also known as Dutch cabbage, this makes a firm head of tightly packed leaves with a solid core. It has a sweet taste and keeps particularly well.

Round cabbage

Also known as ball-head cabbage, this can be eaten raw and cooked, as most varieties of cabbage, but best suits stir-frying and braising.

The large outer leaves are excellent for blanching and stuffing; the heart is tender and sweet.

Pointed cabbage

This is also known as spring cabbage since it grows right through winter and spring into summer, when others are not available.

Cabbages and Brussels sprouts are hardy brassicas grown in temperate zones all over the world in different soils and are staples of the diets of many countries.

How to core and shred cabbage

This technique applies to all varieties. For the most efficient control and action when shredding, anchor the point of the knife on the cutting board, raising and lowering the blade through the cabbage. Guide the blade with the knuckles of your other hand, keeping your fingers tucked away.

Hold the head of cabbage firmly on the cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut it in half, straight through the stalk end.

Cut the halves again through the stalk lengthwise and slice out the core from each quarter.

Working with each quarter at a time, place the wedge cut-side down. Cut across the cabbage, creating shreds.


Varieties available

Savoy, round green, pointed, red, white, and Brussels sprouts. Brussels tops are also sold as greens.


All heads should be tight and solid with no yellowing or damaged leaves. Choose sprouts of even size; the smaller ones are sweetest.


Keep in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the fridge; cabbages for several weeks, sprouts up to 5 days.


Shred or chop and eat raw in salads; or steam, boil, or braise. Add to soups, stews, and casseroles. Large leaves can be stuffed.


Ferment white cabbage as sauerkraut, pickle red cabbage.

Recipe ideas

Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta

Cabbage stuffed with chestnut and pork

Creamy coleslaw

Ham hock with red cabbage


Slow-cooked Swedish red cabbage

Spicy pork with caraway seeds and cabbage

Season’s best carrots

Their exceptional flavor, versatility, and the promise of good health make carrots extremely popular. As well as the familiar long, orange variety, they may be cylindrical, stubby, round, or finger-size, and purple, yellow, dark red, or white, with a sweet, refreshing taste and aroma. Maincrop are best in autumn and early winter; young finger and bunched ones in spring and summer. They are great with sweet spices and other roots, or glazed with orange juice and honey.

Purple carrot

The original wild carrots of Afghanistan were purple. New strains have regained the color that supplies beneficial anthocyanin and lycopene along with rich carrot flavor.

These carrots are purple outside and orange in the center.


They are short and stubby when fully grown. Their flavor is extraordinarily rich and there is no need to peel them before use.

They have a classic cone shape.

Bunched carrot

These delicious, sweet, fragrant carrots are perfect for scrubbing and grating raw, or for cooking lightly.

Leaves should be bright green and fresh.

The sweet orange carrot was developed by the Dutch in the 16th century in honor of their king. Many varieties are now cultivated worldwide in countries with mild temperatures.

How to make carrot batonnets

Batonnets are ideal for crudités, steaming, or stir-frying. They are about 1/4in (5mm) wide and 2–2 1/2in (5–6cm) long. Any straight vegetable can be cut to this shape.

Peel each carrot and cut in half crosswise. Cut into 1/4in (5mm) thick slices with a mandolin or a large, sharp chef’s knife.

Stack the slices in their natural order. Trim off the rounded sides to make a neat block. Slice lengthwise into strips of equal width.


Varieties available

Many varieties of young finger, bunched, maincrop, chantenay, purple, white, and round carrots.


The green tops should be fresh and bright; if trimmed, there should be no mold on the top. They should smell fresh and be firm. Avoid any sprouting thin white rootlets.


Twist off any green tops and leave unwashed for up to 2 weeks in a cool, dark place. If washed and trimmed, store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Eat raw, or roast, boil, braise, steam, sauté, or stir-fry. Use in soups, stews, casseroles, cakes, and breads.


Pickle with other vegetables, or use to make a sweet jam or conserve.

Recipe ideas

Caramelized carrots

Carrot and coriander relish

Carrot and shredded cabbage with peanuts

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