~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Romanian Cabbage and Sausage (Varza cu Carnati)... using a Pressure Cooker

Romanian Cabbage and Sausage (Varza cu Carnati)... using a Pressure Cooker. I haven't posted a Romanian recipe in some time now...nor have I posted a pressure cooker recipe. So I decided to combine the two and share this recipe for Romanian Cabbage and Sausage...or Varza cu Carnati. This is one of those meals that I can prepare without too much fuss... and know it comes out each time I make it. I just love using my pressure cooker...
The cabbage is normally cooked on the stove-top and finished off in the oven, but using the pressure cooker cuts down the time significantly ...and actually makes for a really tasty one-pot dish. The dish is traditionally served with polenta or mamaliga...or maybe some crusty bread. But oftentimes, I'll just skip the polenta as well as the bread.
When making this dish, I don't necessarily use the same ingredients...it all depends on what I have in the fridge. Sometimes, I'll go for a meatless version. If I don't have bell peppers, I'll skip it. But if I have a cabbage, an onion, tomato paste, and a few spices I can usually pull it off...to make a quick meal or even use it as a side dish.
Even though I've been making this dish for some time now, the thought to post it never crossed my mind...until recently. We've had some rainy days lately...so I took the opportunity to make it again. Thought maybe, just maybe some of you would like to give this peasant-style dish a try:). It's a simple sort of dish...but a good one nonetheless. Hope you enjoy...

Note: You can easily make this dish in a regular pot...cooking the cabbage completely on the stove-top OR starting it on the stove-top and finishing it off in the oven. The time will be closer to 30 minutes or so....or until the cabbage is cooked according to preference.

Tip: Feel free to add some chopped or grated fresh tomatoes...and substituting the caraway with some fresh dill...as well as adding a bay leaf.
I chose to use some chicken sausages this time around, but I also love using smoked buffalo sausages. You can use other types of sausages just as well...chorizo, veal, italian, etc.
You can opt to cook the sausage separately from the cabbage... just pan fry or grill the sausage. The cabbage also works well as a side to a variety of other meats.

You will need:

1 onion, thinly sliced
4 TBS olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium cabbage, shredded
4-6 sausage links, sliced thickly
3-4 TBS tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika*
1-2 tsps caraway seed, or to taste
2-3 TBS lemon juice, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper or chile flakes, to taste, optional
* you can opt to omit if you don't have

1. Prep all ingredients...shred the cabbage, slice the onion, pepper, and sausage.
2. Heat oil on medium heat and add onion. Cook until softened...about 2-3 minutes or so.
3. Add bell pepper...saute for an additional minute or so.
4. Add sliced sausage(if using a fresh sausage, you might want to brown it a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients), tomato paste, paprika...stir to combine.
5. Add shredded cabbage, caraway, salt, and pepper( chile pepper/cayenne if using)...and thoroughly combine.
6. Add the water and lemon juice...and stir the cabbage once more. Turn up heat to high.
7. Place lid on and bring to pressure.
8. Lower heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes ...depending how soft you like your cabbage. For the first time, cook for 8 minutes...you can always cook the cabbage some more if need be rather than having the cabbage be overcooked.
9. Release pressure naturally...not the cold water method.
10. Stir to combine...adjust seasoning and add a drizzle or two of fresh olive oil. If you feel the cabbage is too "watery" or it has too much of a "bite"... cook it down a bit more...with the lid off.
Serve with warm polenta...or crusty bread.


Alina---Explora Cuisine said...

Miroase pana la mine Ellie! Looks wonderful, as I'm in love with Cabbage! Talk about confort food :)

I was busy for a while and didn't visit your blog lately, but I'm back, gotta try one of your recipes, btw, do you happen to know any recipe for marinated mushrooms and artichokes? like the ones you can find next to the deli department in the supermarkets?

Hope you're doing great, summer is here in Toronto and the air is so humid, that you can barely breathe it :)) Have a great week my dear!

Ellie said...

Alina, Sweet of you to stop by...knowing that cabbage is quite healthy, I try to add it to our meals every so often:). It truly is a comfort food...

I am hoping you are having a wonderful beginning of the week...I've slowly started to get my garden in order...Always look forward to it. Though this morning we had quite a bit of frost:(...not exactly sure what will grow this year.

Anyway, here are a few links you might want to look over...

From Better Homes and Garden:


JUST marinated mushrooms from COOK'S ILLUSTRATED via Food.com:


JUST Marinated Artichokes from SAVEUR:


You can combine the two and make your own salad. Or simply use jarred marinated artichokes and just marinate the fresh mushrooms and then combine.

Hope this helps:)...Have a lovely week!

megi said...

The cabbage and sausage stew looks delicious, we make the Turkish version often during the cold winter months, it's truly comfort food for me. My mom uses the pressure cooker to make it too. Smoked paprika sounds like a great addition. Looking forward to trying your recipe soon.

Ellie said...

Thanks , Megi. Is the Turkish version, much different?...I would love to try it.
The smoked paprika gives the cabbage that smoked flavor that is usually acquired when using smoked sausage...but it's great to use especially if the sausage isn't smoked or if you are going for a meatless version. I just love the smoky flavor...goes extremely well with cabbage.

Mihaela said...

I love how you called it : "peasant-style dish"; sounds so " taraneste "

Speranta said...

O! Varza cu carnati imi pace foarte mult.
Arata excelent, si gustul cred ca este bun bun ...
Multumesc pentru reteta ...using a Pressure Cooker.:)

Ellie said...

Mihaela, Chiar asa este ...o mancare gustoasa si usor de facut...taraneasca de-a binelea:)

Speranta, Este foarte buna mancarea...si stiu ca o sa iti placa si tie:)

Anonymous said...

Hello Ellie, hi everyone!I'm Adi from NY (orig. Mangalia) My wife gave me homework in my day off:Varza cu carnati.This one here looks great.I'm gonna use the dutch oven though... In the mean time I fell in love with the your Montana pictures.I'm asking myself"What are we doing here in this concrete jungle?!?"
Will let you know how I managed the cooking. Thanks for posting the cabbage recipe.

Ellie said...

Hi Adi, Glad you stopped by! I'm thinking your varza cu carnati will come out so delicious using a Dutch oven... I'm actually craving some right now:). Not too difficult to make at all...
And yes, Montana is quite different than NY... open land where there's more cattle than people:)
Though sometimes I think of visiting NY city...just to be able to experience the variety of cultures... and taste the food:).
Hope you enjoy the varza...and thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Hi! I am so excited to have found your blog while searching for salad olivier! I love eastern european food and love that you have a whole section dedicated to Romanian. I can't wait to try these out.

I actually for the first time just had this dish yesterday that I picked up at a Russian market here in the Boston area and loved it. Now I will try to recreate!

Ellie said...

Dan, I am so glad you are enjoying the blog...hopefully you will find a recipe or two you like:). We love Romanian food:)... and salad olivier(salata de beouf) is a favorite...as well as this dish.
Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

Joanna Hay said...

Hi Ellie. We arrived home (Kent, UK) from a birding trip to Sinoe, Sfantu Gheorghe and Braila last night and are already missing the country, the people and the food. We had carp with cabbage in the delta and this recipe seems perfect for the cabbage. I'm serving it with chicken though as we don't have carp in the shops. We loved the soups and stews too so have lots of ideas for new meals this winter.

Ellie said...

Joanna, Oh, your trip to Romania sounds wonderful! So glad you could go and experience it and come back with ideas for meals:). I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the carp(not many would even venture to try it!) and I love how you are trying to make do with what you have in the UK. Hope you enjoy the cabbage:)... it was a delight to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and sharing! Have a great day.