Rustic Ground Beef with Braised Cabbage

In the realm of hearty, comforting meals, few dishes can compete with the rich flavors and satisfying nature of Rustic Ground Beef with Braised Cabbage. This dish, with its roots in traditional European cuisine, is a celebration of simple, wholesome ingredients brought together in perfect harmony. The tender ground beef melds seamlessly with the savory, slightly sweet braised cabbage, creating a meal that is both nourishing and delicious. Ideal for cold winter nights or anytime you crave something comforting and substantial, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household.

Ingredients:

For the Ground Beef:

  • 1 pound ground beef (preferably 85% lean)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Braised Cabbage:

  • 1 medium green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Garnish (optional):

  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Caraway seeds

Instructions:

Prepare the Ground Beef:

  1. Sauté the Onions and Garlic:
    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  2. Cook the Ground Beef:
    Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef to the skillet. Break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, cooking until it is browned and no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Ensure the meat is evenly browned and any excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. Season the Beef:
    Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and ground nutmeg over the beef. Stir well to incorporate the spices evenly throughout the meat. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Set Aside:
    Once the ground beef is fully cooked and seasoned, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. Keep it warm while you prepare the braised cabbage.

Prepare the Braised Cabbage:

  1. Sauté the Cabbage:
    In the same skillet used for the beef, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced cabbage and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften and slightly caramelize.
  2. Add Carrots and Apple:
    Stir in the julienned carrots and thinly sliced apple. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften and the flavors to combine.
  3. Deglaze the Skillet:
    Pour the apple cider vinegar into the skillet, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. This deglazing step adds a depth of flavor to the dish and helps incorporate all the delicious flavors left from cooking the beef.
  4. Add Broth and Seasonings:
    Stir in the chicken or beef broth, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Allow the cabbage mixture to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the flavors are well combined.

Combine and Serve:

  1. Combine Beef and Cabbage:
    Once the cabbage is tender, return the cooked ground beef to the skillet. Stir to combine, allowing the beef to heat through and absorb some of the flavors from the braised cabbage.
  2. Adjust Seasonings:
    Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You may want to add a bit more salt, pepper, or even a touch more vinegar if you prefer a tangier flavor.
  3. Serve:
    Serve the Rustic Ground Beef with Braised Cabbage hot, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of caraway seeds if desired. This dish pairs wonderfully with crusty bread or boiled potatoes for a complete meal.

Conclusion

Rustic Ground Beef with Braised Cabbage is a testament to the beauty of simple, hearty cooking. This dish brings together the robust flavors of seasoned ground beef and the tender, slightly sweet notes of braised cabbage, creating a meal that is both satisfying and full of depth. The addition of carrots and apples adds a subtle sweetness that balances the savory elements perfectly. Whether you’re serving it for a family dinner or a cozy meal with friends, this recipe is sure to warm your heart and soul. Enjoy the comforting embrace of this classic dish, and relish in the rich, homey flavors that make it truly special.

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