Montenegrin Braised Cabbage

Cabbage is a very popular vegetable in the Balkans, served raw, in the form of sauerkraut and cooked in a variety of ways. In the northern part of the former Yugoslavia, today’s Slovenia and parts of Croatia, cabbage may be cooked with sour cream or tossed with noodles and smoked bacon. In Bosnia or Montenegro, it might be cooked with tomatoes. This recipe from Slovenia is typically served as a bed for a roast duckling.

Montenegrin Braised Cabbage

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
       4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
       2 bay leaves
       2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water
       1 cup dry white wine
       One 2-pound green cabbage, cored and sliced as thin as vermicelli
       15 peppercorns
       8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
       1 teaspoon dried thyme
       1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
       Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the bay leaves and cook until they begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium and very carefully add the tomato paste and wine, which will spurt and splatter rather dramatically.
Continue cooking for a minute then add the cabbage, peppercorns, juniper berries and thyme. Mix so the cabbage is covered with sauce.
Add the lemon juice and continue to braise over medium heat until the cabbage softens 6 to 8 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the cabbage is completely soft about 45 minutes. Correct the seasoning and serve hot.

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