I’ve often mentioned that I love old cookery books, and also often mentioned that tastes in food sometimes don’t seem to have changed, even after many, many years. One exception seems to be the cooking of vegetables; many old recipe books require that even fresh green vegetables are cooked much longer than we would these days. My parents never liked over-cooked vegetables, in fact it seemed enough to just show a lovely fresh cabbage a pan of boiling water for it to be perfectly cooked!

In this recipe, from the National Mark Calendar of Cooking, the poor Savoy is cooked not once, but twice; it is described as ‘a very delicious and unusual way of cooking Savoy, particularly good when served with sausages’:

Braised Savoy

  • 1 savoy cabbage – heart only, cut into four or more ‘quarters’ according to size
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 onion stuck with 1 clove (yes one… not a clove of garlic but a clove as in spice)
  • rashers of bacon, with the fat removed
  • 1 pint stock
  • 1 bouquet of parsley, thyme and 1 bayleaf
  • pepper and salt
  1. cut of stalk and outside ‘ribs’ of the cabbage and rinse well in cold water
  2. boil in unsalted water for 15 minutes
  3. drain, and stand in cold water for ten minutes
  4. drain and press out as much water as possible then spread on a cloth and season
  5. in a fireproof dish put a layer of bacon, then the onion, the bouquet and the carrot
  6. put the cabbage round and over the onion and vegetables
  7. cover with the bacon and pour on the stock
  8. bring to the boil and then put in a moderate oven for 2 hours (yes, 2, TWO, hours)

I can only imagine what the poor cabbage would be like after all that boiling and cooking, grey and slimy I imagine!

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