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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Roasted Cabbage with Asian Pork Tenderloin

Let's see... where to start with this one?!  Well first of all, we have been growing some cabbages in our little backyard garden.  They are beautiful and we have treated them like they were our babies.  We decided that one of them was ready to be harvested today.  It's a beauty!  I love plain old smothered cabbage - usually with cornbread, Hopping John (a Southern favorite with black-eyed peas, rice, and smoked sausage), etc., but our very own (inaugural) cabbages deserved something special.  I decided to roast it. 
Farmer Canon
Secondly, we had some leftover grilled pork tenderloin (which my kids love).. pure, lean, juicy meat.
Third, I was making bacon for breakfast this morning, and decided that if I was going to make this dish, sauteing my onions in the bacon grease would be a BIG, free bonus!  - Now THAT, people, is making the most out of your meals!!

So this meal was sort of like a freebie!  Leftover pork tenderloin, homegrown cabbage, leftover bacon grease.  Woohoo!  And the best part is, when it all came together, it was spectacular!
           Click for Printable Recipe
Roasted Cabbage Ingredients:
This part is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or bacon grease would be even BETTER!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
Asian Sauce:
I just made this simple little Asian sauce from staple things I had in the fridge.
  • 1 cup apple juice 
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp apple jelly
  • 1/4 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar 
Other Components:
  • Grilled pork tenderloin
  • bacon grease
  • sweet yellow onion 
Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Trim cabbage of exterior, dirty, tough, bruised leaves until you reach the pretty ones.  Cut into wedges (leaving stem core in to hold leaves together) or 1" slices or "rounds." Put them in/on a large rimmed baking sheet or pan.  "Paint" the cabbage with olive oil or bacon grease.  I would have preferred bacon grease, but alas, I had none left tonight.  Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Add the juice of a lemon over the cabbage rounds.  Pop the cabbage into the 400 degree oven.  15 minutes on side one. (I did 20 minutes on side two.)

Meanwhile, saute your onions low and slow in bacon grease.  You can crumble the bacon over the top if you want, but my kids never leave any extra. See all that fond at the bottom of the pan?  LEAVE it!  That is going to give our onions SOooo much flavor!  Add a sliced onion into the bacon grease and saute for a while on medium to medium-low. We want a gentle caramelization on the onions.  This makes them super sweet.  (Remember, I actually did this step this morning while my pan was hot. I just popped them into the fridge and they were ready and waiting for me this evening to just heat up. This was a good time saving step.)


For the Asian sauce:  Just add everything together, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer until sauce has reduced.  This took about half an hour for me, but requires no care.  Just give it a stir every once in a while while you're doing everything else.


After 15 minutes, carefully turn the cabbage rounds over.  Brush the other side with oil, season side two, and put it back in the oven. They will be tender in the middle, slightly crunchy on the edges - similar to roasting Brussels sprouts.

Assembly:  Slice the pork tenderloin into about 1/2 inch pieces.  To assemble, lay the roasted cabbage on a plate.  Top with the pork tenderloin, the hot caramelized onions, then a drizzle of the Asian sauce.  Mmmm mmmm!  The cabbage is sweet, with just a tang of the lemon... and just the right amount of crunch and texture to the bite.  The pork, succulent and savory.  The onions, soft and sweet.  The Asian sauce, sweet, spicy, and exotic.  Be sure you have a bite with all of it together!

Step-by-Step:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Trim cabbage of exterior, dirty, tough, bruised leaves until you reach the pretty ones.

Cut into wedges (leaving stem core in to hold leaves together) or 1" slices or "rounds." Put them in/on a large rimmed baking sheet or pan.
Cabbage rounds.
"Paint" the cabbage with olive oil or bacon grease.  I would have preferred bacon grease, but alas, I had none left tonight.
This was a good job for Lily.
Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Add the juice of a lemon over the cabbage rounds.

Pop the cabbage into the 400 degree oven.  15 minutes on side one. (I did 20 minutes on side two.)

Meanwhile, saute your onions low and slow in bacon grease.  You can crumble the bacon over the top if you want, but my kids never leave any extra.
See all that fond at the bottom of the pan?  LEAVE it!  That is going to give our onions SOooo much flavor!
Add a sliced onion into the bacon grease and saute for a while on medium to medium-low.
We want a gentle caramelization on the onions.  This makes them super sweet.  (Remember, I actually did this step this morning while my pan was hot. I just popped them into the fridge and they were ready and waiting for me this evening to just heat up. This was a good time saving step.)

For the Asian sauce:
Just add everything together, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer until sauce has reduced.  This took about half an hour for me, but requires no care.  Just give it a stir every once in a while while you're doing everything else.
1 cup of apple juice.

2 Tbsp soy sauce.
2 Tbsp rice vinegar.

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil.  Go easy on this.  The flavors are very potent.

1/4 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce.  Leave this out if you don't want it to be that spicy.

4 Tbsp apple jelly.
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.  Careful.. this can add a lot of heat, too.

3 Tbsp brown sugar.

Add it all together, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes.

The sauce will reduce and thicken.




After 15 minutes, carefully turn the cabbage rounds over.  Brush the other side with oil, season side two, and put it back in the oven. They will be tender in the middle, slightly crunchy on the edges - similar to roasting Brussels sprouts.
Slice the pork tenderloin into about 1/2 inch pieces.  Isn't it beautiful?  I can't take the credit for this one, as my husband grilled it. This is me recycling our leftover dinner into something new.

To assemble, lay the roasted cabbage on a plate.  Top with the pork tenderloin, the hot caramelized onions, then a drizzle of the Asian sauce.

Mmmm mmmm!  The cabbage is sweet, with just a tang of the lemon... and just the right amount of crunch and texture to the bite.  The pork, succulent and savory.  The onions, soft and sweet.  The Asian sauce, sweet, spicy, and exotic.  Be sure you have a bite with all of it together!
It's very common to see cabbage paired with Asian meals in stir fry's, etc., but this is an easy and unique way to do it at home.  I think it was a fitting tribute to our little homegrown cabbage!

Looking for more great recipes from my blog?
Please visit my Recipe Index for tons of ideas you can cook with/for your family.  Here are just a few random recipes from my blog to get your curiosity going:

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