Not an immediate choice when Italian vegetable cooking springs to mind, however certain principles used are very Italian, especially the sweet and sour ‘gastric’ made before the cabbage is started. This dish is virtually inseparable from the Roast Belly of Pork; it takes roughly the same amount of time and attention, and is cooked in the same oven. Together they make a hearty and simple winter dinner. Like the pork, the cabbage is good cold or reheated.
This may not be fast food, but it is simple food. You will need a cast-iron casserole with a lid, and a food processor with a slicer blade would be helpful for the cabbage.
In a small pan toast the juniper berries for 3–4 minutes with the peppercorns, then add
If you insist on ignoring my advice and cooking the cabbage on its own, then add copious quantities of dripping or duck fat instead of sunflower oil at the beginning of the cooking procedure. Ideally you should repeat the procedure of moistening the cabbage with the fat one more time. The cabbage should go into the oven after the pork, when the temperature is turned down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
When you serve it, try to find and discard the bay leaves. Serve the cabbage in a mound under the roast belly pork.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.