Quick Side: Browned Cabbage with Mustard & Horseradish ♥

The extra brown-ness, a happy accidentKitchen accidents are something to avoid: dull knives that slip and slice fingers, hot liquid that explodes in a too-full blender.

This easy vegetable side dish, however, is the result of a happy kitchen accident.

The phone rang just as I dumped the onion and the first of the cabbage into the hot pan. With the portable out of reach, I answered in my next-door office -- without thinking to turn off the heat. Oops. Ten minutes later the onion and cabbage had browned-browned-browned, so much I wondered if they'd be salvageable for supper. Happy accident indeed, the browned-browned-browned cabbage and onions, mixed with mustard and horseradish, were sooo good!

And why do I say 'browned-browned-browned', aside from the obvious answer of color? Well you see, I've been reading my new favorite Harold McGee. And thanks to the eminently readable guru of food science, I now know that technically, only butter and brown sugar caramelize, whereas meats and vegetables brown -- via what's called the Maillard reaction. (The word needs a verb form, don't you think, Maillard-ize? or Maillize? perhaps?) I love learning this stuff!

Small World: I just found out that Karen from FamilyStyle Food met Harold McGee! She wrote about it too for St. Louis' great alternative paper, the Riverfront Times.

Anyway. This is a great side vegetable. It's got strong flavors so I'd recommend serving it with meat that can match up -- grilled pork, sausages. And it's rich -- so small servings taste like more.

If you love cooked cabbage, try Kitchen Parade's Caraway Cabbage or perhaps the Cape Breton Cabbage or the Swedish Red Cabbage. Otherwise, check out all the cabbage recipes in the Recipe Box.

A YEAR AGO The ever-so-thrifty No Waste Leek Stock

BakingSheet ... in a rare non-baking post, Hot & Sour Cabbage Soup
Orangette ... Braised Green Cabbage with Onions, Carrots, and a Poached Egg
Habeas Brulee ... Cabbage Strudel

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Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced large
About 1 pound cabbage, sliced thin (1 pound is about half a typical head)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
1 teaspoon (or more) horseradish
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup water

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter til shimmery on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion, cabbage and salt; stir til covered with fat. Arrange for the phone to ring and walk away for 10 minutes. If this isn't practical, do your best to ignore the cabbage for 10 minutes, letting it brown. If you can't ignore it, stir only very occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into cabbage and let cook 1 - 2 minutes til cabbage thickens slightly. Season to taste and serve.

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Happy kitchen accidents are wonderful, and it looks like the result of yours is pretty darn delish!

  2. Wow. What a wonderful accident. I love the sound of it. This is going straight to the del.icio.us cookbook.

    I'm making my way through the book too. I've learned so much already, I just wish I had more time to read! (So many good books and recipes, so little time!)

  3. Oh, this sounds wonderful. I'm buying some cabbage today. And I'm reading McGee right now too!

  4. Sometimes laissz faire brings along such great results. And don't veggies caramelize at high temperatures and this is what we especially love about them ?

    Thanks for sharing and all the best from Vienna, angelika

  5. That sounds positively delicious! Definitely a keeper of a recipe -- I would have never thought to cook cabbage like that. I'm going to give this one a whirl, for sure. Thanks for sharing your accident with us -- as you know from my site, I'm a big fan of accidental kitchen discoveries. ;-)

  6. Hi Alanna,
    I found a wonderful site of Indian recepes. Just take a look at it.

  7. Yum - I love cabbage. It's so versatile! I like to shave it thin, blanch and use as a pasta replacement.

    This particular recipe is very polish. My boyfriend's mother, born and raised in Poland, recently gave me a delicious recipe with red cabbage boiled and then added to carmelized onion and fennel to fry, cooled and topped with salt, pepper, a bit of EVOO, balsamic vinegar and capers. delish!

  8. This was really easy and good! I didn't have any horseradish (last time I checked we had 6 jars, but now we have none). I used 4 tsp of horseradish mustard. The mustard flavor was very strong - next time I might try using half the mustard for a more delicate flavor.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna