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.