Savor the season: Modern Cafe chef digs on cabbage

Savor the season: Modern Cafe chef digs on cabbage

Photo by Alejandrooo ! via Flickr

Don't be afraid of cabbage, kids. It doesn't smell as bad as you think, just make sure you have lots of butter on hand. Butter makes everything better. So says Modern Cafe's Chef Phillip Becht (and we're inclined to agree).

This time of year can be tricky for those who like to cook in season. "It's pretty tough right now," says Becht. "There isn't much around."

Winter makes Becht think of mulled wine, so he likes making food that captures those flavors. For a home meal, he recommends roast pork loin with red cabbage and chutney.

Brine the pork beforehand if you're so inclined (about six hours for every two inches of thickness). Becht, who says he likes more sugar in his brine than most, recommends a brine of 1 cup sugar, 1 cup salt and 1 gallon of water.

Later, when the pork is roasting -- just before or after it's done -- chop up a red cabbage and saute it in butter with some apple juice and garam masala, sweating it down until it's nice and soft. Slice the pork and serve it on top of the cabbage, topped with some chutney.

(Most recipes recommend roasting a loin for up to two hours or so, at 350-375 degrees. Also, most people say pork is done when it registers 145-150 degrees or so.)

For the chutney, Becht says to run by Patel Groceries on Central, where they have rows of pickled things to choose from and work with. You can't really go wrong. At the restaurant, Becht makes his own pear chutney for the dish.

The Modern serves a variation of the pork dish, over polenta.

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