Sassenach's Stew

Last year, I featured four new recipes for HBO's Game of Thrones premiere. (That's coming up later in the month...I'm focused on something new for now.)

This year, I have a new obsession. If you know me, I'm a bit of a bookworm. Okay, okay...I read all of the time. I've seen Outlander in book stores and heard people mention it from time to time, but I shrugged it off. Ah, it's not my typical read, I would say. But, boy, was I wrong. 

I devoured the first three books quickly and fell in love with the characters and setting. A brief synopsis of the book (from Goodreads):

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

The show premieres on Starz this weekend, April 9th. My girl friends and I will be watching! (If you can't commit to reading the book, please watch the show on Amazon.)

With this all said, I began researching different Scottish recipes and I wanted to share them with you here before the show premieres. Many recipes had meat in them (although I was not totally shocked), but I was able to put together a somewhat traditional Scottish stew -- with cabbage!

I love cabbage! This stew is easy to make and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. I chose leeks in this recipe because they are a traditional Scottish ingredient, more so over onions. Most of these ingredients could have been found in 1743!

As a side note, you might be wondering why I chose to include Montreal Steak Seasoning in my recipe. When I looked up several Scottish recipes in consultation, I found few that listed exact spices. I put MSS on my cooked veggies constantly, so it seemed like the perfect fit. (By the way, I use McCormick brand. The knockoffs just don't taste as good.)

Sassenach's Stew (aka Claire's Cabbage Soup)
1 medium-sized green cabbage
2 T. vegan butter or olive oil
5 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. white wine (dry)
2 leeks, diced (tutorial on cutting and cleaning here)
2-3 medium carrots, shredded
2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 potatoes, cooked and mashed (optional)

In accordance with Scottish recipes, soak the cabbage in salt water for an hour before cooking it. (If you don't do this, I don't think it will be the end of the world. It just makes the cabbage a little more tender.)

To shred the cabbage, you can use either a traditional shredder or a mandolin. (I put my mandolin on the smallest setting and this worked wonders. I am the slowest shredder in the world. The mandolin is a life saver.)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the butter/oil, shredded cabbage, seasoning, and leeks. Cook the mixture until the cabbage is slightly wilted and cooked.

Turn the heat up high and add in the wine and veggie stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower it to a simmer. Allow the alcohol to burn off and let the soup cook for 20-30 minutes, until the cabbage is very tender. Once the stew is done, stir in the carrots and potatoes (for thickness, if desired). Turn off the heat.

Enjoy this tasty soup in celebration of a great story :-)