I’ve owned a slow cooker for awhile now and never really had the confidence to just try experimenting with it. I’ve made lots of gorgeous dinners in it but they were mostly back in my meat eating days and I followed the recipes exactly. Slow cooking is a great way to eat, it concentrates the flavours that you add and is extremely easy and convenient. I decided it was time to get more confident with this great cooking technique and familiarise myself with cooking times.
I decided to start with the humble white cabbage as my main ingredient. I love cabbage but I usually buy one of the darker varieties like a savoy because it has more flavour and I prefer the texture. However I felt the white cabbage would be perfect in this dish because it goes lovely and soft when cooked and it will be a great match to the apple and thyme flavours.
I had a browse through cabbage recipes, in particular side dishes, and most of them mixed cabbage with herbs such as thyme and another element like pancetta or beans. I decided to use white beans and I added some apple to bring a sweetness to the dish.
With a lot of slow cooker recipes you have to ‘brown off’ some of the ingredients first to caramelise the natural sugars and bring out the flavour. The slow cooking process will not do this. Things like onions and shallots should be started off in a pan and then finished off in the slow cooker. For this recipe I decided to soften the onion, apple and garlic first.
I then put the cooked onion mixture in the slow cooker with all the other ingredients and went and did something else for a few hours. I have an electric slow cooker so you don’t even have to heat your full oven up, it’s much more economical than normal cooking…plus I enjoyed the time spare I had to go and do other things!
Also every recipe I’ve made in the slow cooker has made a big batch of the recipe with tonnes of leftovers, batch cooking is my favourite way to cook because we can live off the leftovers for a few days and have a really cheap week 🙂 I’ve been thinking about what I would actually serve this with, the old me would say “perfect with pork” but the new me is thinking this would be amazing on a jacket potato with a big dollop of butter or served simply with some rice and a good grind of black pepper. You could also serve it as a side dish to a vegetarian roast with some crispy roast potatoes.
1 White Cabbage
2 cups/ 300g dried Canellini beans
1 Red Apple
1 Large Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 litre Vegetable stock (approx)
4-5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
Salt and pepper
Soak beans over night in plenty of water.
Peel and slice the onion, quarter the apple and take the core out, then finely slice the apple and peel and dice the garlic. No need to peel the apple!
In a good non stick frying pan brown off the onion, apple and garlic until softened and slightly caramelised. Put it all into the slow cooker with shredded cabbage, the soaked beans beans, thyme and seasoning. Cover with enough stock to just cover the cabbage and beans, you don’t want too much water so it doesn’t matter if some of the cabbage is sticking out the top of the water.
Cook on a medium heat for 4 and a half hours, give it a little stir every now and then if you want. I couldn’t help myself!