Charred Cabbage with Spicy Pork + Lime Crema
A lot of you are asking for recipes that can spice up your relationship with cabbage. So, I thought this recipe was the perfect answer to *literally* spice up your cabbage love life.
So wtf did I do to spice it up and create this beauty that looks like it came from a Mexican fusion restaurant menu? Well, I decided to lightly pickle and spice some thick cabbage slices and then broil them to achieve peak crispiness and a little tenderness. I then cooked some chorizo, which I took out of the casing so I could break it up like a ground meat, and topped the cabbage with this chorizo. I then finished it off with a lime crema and cilantro, and bam, that’s how you get this edible work of art. Before we get to the recipe, I want to tell you how you can spice up your ground meat to mimic chorizo.
How to make your own “chorizo” with ground pork, turkey or chicken
It’s allllllll in the spices. The preferred meat here is obviously pork, since that’s what chorizo sausage is made of. However, I understand some people don’t eat pork. That’s TOTALLY fine! Spice your meat accordingly and you’ll have just as delicious of a dish. You can also use tempeh but you may want to alter the measurements here since I don’t cook with tempeh enough to know how these particular amounts will work with the texture and natural flavor.
For 1 lb of ground meat
Feel free to alter this to your taste. If using all ground powder, just mix in a bowl with a whisk. If using whole seeds or leaves, make sure to toast for 2-3 minutes and then grind them up in a food processor!
Once all the spices are ground into a powder, combine them all in a bowl. With your hands, mix them into the ground meat and then add the vinegar. Massage everything into the ground meat until it’s all evenly incorporated and the meat begins to take on a red color.
DIY Chorizo Spice Blend
- 1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika (or regular if that is all you have)
- 1 tbsp chili powder (even better if you can find ancho chili powder)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano (if you can’t find Mexican, don’t sub for regular Oregano. Just skip this)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or ground into paste
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or red wine vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar)
Charred Cabbage with Spicy Pork + Lime Crema
- 2 1- 1 1/2 inch slices red cabbage can sub green cabbage
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl to grab from
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 lb chorizo meat (or seasoned ground meat mentioned above) if using chorizo sausage, feel free to remove from the casing or keep it in the casing and slice into medallions
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/8 tsp salt or just a small pinch
- Cilantro for topping (optional)
- Move the oven rack to the second highest postion. Set the broiler to high. If you don't have a broiler, set your oven to 475 degrees F.
- Place the cabbage slices into a large bowl or a baking dish. Pour half of the red wine vinegar into the dish, so that the cabbage slices are laying in the lquid. Pour the rest of the vinegar on top. Move them around in the liquid to make sure they are absorbing as much as possible.
- Sprinkle the top of the cabbage with some salt (about 1/4-1/2 tsp) and rub the salt into the crevices of the cabbage. Flip the cabbage over and repeat with the salt on the other side. You do not want to over salt the cabbage, so do not load it on! Every cabbage is sized differently, so use your intuition on how much is good for you.
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic and onion powders until combined. With your hands, rub each side of the cabbage so it's coated in the garlic and onion powder mixture. Make sure to get it in those crevices! Because the cabbage is in the vinegar, the powders wll become wet and turn into a wet "paste" when you're rubbing it onto the cabbage. Just wanted to let you guys know incase you're worried you're doing it wrong! You're not!
- Finally, generously sprinkle chili powder (to taste) on both sides of the cabbage, then pour about 1/2 tsp of olive oil onto each cabbage and rub it around the vegetable so it's fully coated. I use my hands for this but feel free to use a brush if you feel so inclined.
- Place the *fully lubed up* cabbage slices onto a sheet pan and broil on high for 15-20 minutes. If your broiler is a gas broiler, check on the cabbage at 7 minutes and if the top of the cabbage is very charred already, move the rack down and set the oven heat to 500 degrees to finish off the cabbage for the next 10 minutes. We want the top to be crispy, but we also want the cabbage to fully cook and become a bit softer to cut through.
- While the cabbage is cooking, season a skillet with a tiny drop of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the chorizo or ground meat and begin to break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. If using chorizo or ground pork, you'll notice the fat beginning to cook off and the meat will begin to cook in its own fat (yum.) If you're using chicken or turkey, season the skillet with a little more olive oil so that the pan doesn't dry up. Continue to sauté the meat until it's fully cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the lime crema ingredients. If the mixture is thicker than you prefer, feel free to water it down with 1/2 tsp of water at a time. Taste to make sure it's the crema of your dreams, and if it's not, feel free to add a little more lime juice or salt. You can even spice it up with a hot sauce of your choice.
- You'll know the cabbage is done when it's crispy on the edges and top, and also slightly tender to touch. Remove the cabbage from the heat and put it on a plate. Top the cabbage with the cooked meat and then drizzle the crema on top. Finish it off with some fresh cilantro, if using, and serve immediately.