Jim Dixon’s DIY Dish: Swedish-Style Caramelized Cabbage

The cabbage emerges dark, crispy around the edges, and nearly unrecognizable, but it’s delicious.

Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business, Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.

Swedish-Style Caramelized Cabbage

In a fondly remembered New York Times food column, food editor Sam Sifton stopped by to check in on a pregnant neighbor and caught a whiff of cabbage cooking—her grandmother’s kalpudding. Kalpudding is a Swedish meatloaf-adjacent casserole that features my favorite vegetable, caramelized in treacle (also known as cane syrup). While I was tempted by the kalpudding, it was Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson’s description of the cabbage as beeflike and umami-filled that sucked me in. I skipped the meat and just made the cabbage.

Sifton’s recipe in the Times swaps readily available molasses for the European golden syrup made from sugar beets, but I turned to an all-American sweetener most of us already have, maple syrup. I add a splash of vinegar to brighten the flavors, and I cook it in the oven instead of on top of the stove. The cabbage emerges dark, crispy around the edges, and nearly unrecognizable, but it’s delicious.

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine the cabbage, onion, maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a cast iron skillet or 9-inch, square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the cabbage gets brown and even a little burnt at the edges. Taste and add salt, if needed.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.