Sunday, January 20, 2008

Recipe: Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries – Chou Rouge Forestière (Λάχανο Κόκκινο με Μανιτάρια και βακκίνιο το Μύρτιλλο)

“Sing,” she said. “It will improve your cooking.” Josephine Araldo

Josephine Araldo inspired a generation of cooks. She was a legend: an elf-like woman who spoke rapid-fire English with a French accent.

Araldo was born in Brittany in 1896. She went to Paris in the early 1920s and was one of the first women to graduate from Cordon Bleu. In 1924, she moved to San Francisco as a cook for a wealthy family and stayed there the rest of her long life.

After World War II, Araldo retired as a cook and began teaching her skills to others. Marion Cunningham (of Fannie Farmer fame) and Alice Waters both studied under Araldo. Fran Bigelow, who started Fran’s Chocolates and popularized grey salt caramels in the US, was also a student of Araldo.

Chef Robert Reynolds, now of Trou Food, started as one of Araldo’s students, but later became a close friend. Reynolds collaborated with Araldo in writing From a Breton Garden: The Vegetable Cookery of Josephine Araldo.

From a Breton Garden is a brilliant book. Araldo taught that “vegetables are the jewel in the crown; they make the plate” and her book reflects that philosophy on every page.

The recipes use common, everyday vegetables. The most exotic is artichokes, a favorite of Araldo’s judging from the thirty-one artichoke recipes in the book. Some recipes in From a Breton Garden are traditional and others creative, but all are delicious. I’ve owned the book for 17 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed every recipe I’ve made from it.

From a Breton Garden was published in 1990, one year after Araldo’s death. The biographical information in it gives readers a glimpse into her interesting life, and leaves one wanting to know more about Araldo. Reynolds is now discussing an Araldo biography with her grandson; I’m looking forward to reading it.

The book opens with country recipes from Brittany, where Josephine was born and raised. The Paris chapter reflects the classical cuisine that Araldo learned in cooking school. The San Francisco section is filled with Reynolds’ recipes, which demonstrate the sensibilities he learned from Araldo as she passed her knowledge on to the next generation.

La Mère Jacquette was Josephine Araldo’s grandmother. According to Reynolds, La Mère Jacquette learned to cook before Napoleon III came to power. Her cuisine, as passed down through Araldo to us via From a Breton Garden, includes many unusual recipes combining fruits and vegetables.

One of my favorite recipes in the book came from La Mère Jacquette: Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries. The cabbage is braised in red wine and onions, and then tossed with perfectly cooked mushrooms and fresh blueberries.

In Alaska, this dish is a natural; when it’s time to harvest red cabbage, our woods are filled with wild mushrooms and the blueberries are ready to pick. It’s best made with fresh wild Boletus edulis (aka porcini or cèpes) and wild blueberries, but it still tastes great when made with supermarket ingredients.

Last night I used red cabbage and mushrooms from my Full Circle Farm CSA box with supermarket blueberries. Even my husband, who is dubious on the subject of cooked cabbage, agreed it was wonderful.

Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries – Chou Rouge Forestière (Λάχανο Κόκκινο με Μανιτάρια και βακκίνιο το Μύρτιλλο)
Serves 4 - 6

Adapted from From a Breton Garden: The Vegetable Cookery of Josephine Araldo by Josephine Araldo and Robert Reynolds
I’ve always made this recipe with blueberries, but Araldo says La Mère Jacquette would have used whatever berries she found in the woods. Araldo emphasizes that tossing the mushrooms with garlic and parsley is essential: “without these elements, ‘Cela na vaut pas le pet de lapin’ (it’s not worth the fart of a rabbit).” Araldo recommends using bacon fat to flavor the onions and cabbage; I substitute olive oil without a problem. I’ve served Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries as an accompaniment to pork, roast chicken, grilled lamb, and sausages, and enjoyed it every time.

2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil (or bacon fat)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (6 cups) thinly sliced red cabbage (1/2 a medium head)
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 cup fresh blueberries

Sauté the onions in 2 Tbsp. butter and the olive oil (or bacon fat), lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until the onions are golden. Stir in the cabbage and red wine, lightly season again with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss to evenly distribute the ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.

While the cabbage is cooking, sauté the mushrooms, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in 2 Tbsp. butter in a hot pan. Cook the mushrooms in 2 batches to ensure they brown nicely and retain their liquid (if you put too many mushrooms in the pan at one time, they release their juices and stew rather than brown). When the mushrooms are done, toss them with garlic and parsley.

When the cabbage is done to your liking, stir in the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the blueberries. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Serve.
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This is my entry for Weekend Cookbook Challenge – Veggin’ Out hosted by Sara of I Like to Cook. Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries is full of antioxidants, so I am also sending it to Sweetnicks for Antioxidant Rich Foods/5-a-Day Tuesdays.

23 comments:

Ivy said...

Pity we do not have blueberries in Greece, otherwise it sounds very good.

Cris said...

Wow, until now I thought blueberries were used only in desserts and salads, what a great recipe Laurie. I am planning on posting a moqueca recipe soon. Oh, someone left a comment and one more indication of a movie teaching how to fix the moqueca. :-)

Peter M said...

What an unusual dish, mkaing me all that curious to try it.

Thanks also for the background on the 1st lady to graduate from le Cordon Bleu.

Rosa said...

I'm a huge fan of Josephine Araldo and Robert Reynold's book too, and am grateful for the reminder that it's on my bookshelf. Red cabbage has been tempting me lately, and since wild mushrooms are scarce I might try it with the dried "forest mix" I can buy at the market here.

Núria said...

Hola Laurie!
What an interesting story! I completely agree that mushrooms are the best with parsley and garlic.
I have never used red cabbage in any of my dishes, but I'm bookmarking your recipe for next fall when I'll be able to cook with natural and fresh mushrooms!!! Nice!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Sounds like a great book and a very interesting recipe. Very enjoyable post. Thanks for sharing it!

Bellini Valli said...

I would never have thought to add blueberries to me yred cabbage. It is very common for apples to be added so why not add the beautiful flavours of the blueberries as well.

Elly said...

yet another beautiful and no doubt tasty dish, Laurie! I love the combo here, and the story.

Mansi Desai said...

wow Laurie! that does look inviting, and healthy of course:)

btw, I'm hosting a Game Night Party on my blog and would love to have you participate:) pls take a moment to check details on my blog...

Kevin said...

What an interesting sounding dish.. I never would have thought to combine cabbage, mushrooms and blue berries.

Laurie Constantino said...

Ivy, I think you could substitue any other kind of berry. I know in the fall on the island there are wild blackberries that would work.

Cris - turns out blueberries are very versatile! Can't wait for your moqueca recipe.

Peter, I'd be interested in your opinion if you do make it.

Rosa, glad to hear I'm not the only one! In the book Reynolds says you can use regular supermarket mushrooms and then supplement them with wild mushrooms.

Nuria, thanks!

Jenn, you are very welcome. I really love the book and think anyone who eats lots of vegetables and frequents farmers' markets would like it.

Valli, I think you would like it!

Mansi, it is indeed healthy - and so tasty.

Kevin, I don't think I would ever have thought of it either, but once I tasted it years ago, I've made it regularly ever since.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Laurie, This sounds like a really interesting dish - I am keen to try it out. Thanks for sharing the wonderful story of Josephine Araldo too.

Ricki said...

Wow, Laurie, what an intriguing combination! And the colors certainly go beautifully together. Another one to try!

Sara said...

Cabbage, mushroons and blueberries, wow! This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing with WCC.

Judy said...

I love all these ingredients, especially blueberries, so I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I also enjoyed reading your story. All in all a lovely post.
(Judy@Judy's Gross Eats)

Johanna said...

Josephine Alrado sounds fascinating - I have never been a fan of french cookery but if she has lots of fantastic recipes like this then maybe I could learn to love it. Thanks for all the info

Laurie Constantino said...

Gaye, its interesting, but in a good way. I wish I could have found a picture of Josephine Araldo - she was very very cute.

Ricki, yes, I love the colors and I love how well these unlikely ingredients go together.

Sara, you are most welcome. I'm glad you like it.

Judy, so kind of you to say so. Josephine Araldo was wonderful, and I enjoyed writing about her.

Johanna, there are recipes in the book that use more cream and butter than I do, but the book is chockful of good recipes. I particularly like that the recipes use easy to find ingredients. Robert Reynolds did an excellent job writing the book, and coupled with the great design, it makes the book easy to use.

Ruth Daniels said...

Glorious photo and it sounds awesome. Definitely on my "must Make" list. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

Love the addition of blueberries. Yet another unique recipe. Thank you.

Michelle said...

What an intriguing recipe, and I love your description of the cookbook. With blueberries AND red cabbage, this sounds custom-made for Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-Day Roundup. Great choice!

Mike said...

The purples, blues and reds are incredible! I have such a thing for blueberries, it's almost unnatural and definitely inappropriate. As soon as blueberries are in season in New Hampshire, I'm all over this. Trust me, you will need to turn away, it won't be pretty.

Laurie Constantino said...

Ruth, let me know how you like it! Thanks for stopping by.

Lisa, can you tell I like colorful food?

Michelle, the book is really great, so I'm glad to write about it. I agree the recipe was perfect for ARF!

Mike, I'm with you about blueberries. I particularly like bush blueberries that grow in the forests because picking them is so peaceful. I'll bet you have wild mushrroms in New Hampshire too.

Anonymous said...

I tried this and it was wonderful. To reduce saturated fat further, I used only a little butter and mostly olive oil for mushrooms, and one slice of uncured smoked bacon with fat trimmed in cabbage. I suggest garnishing with extra fresh parsley. Only had fresh cilantro instead of parsley, and it was still good