Pork, cabbage & cabbage sauce

Pork, cabbage & cabbage sauce

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

Cabbage is rife in Nordic countries and chefs are constantly finding new ways to prepare it. Pairing it with pork is a typical Northern European combination of ingredients that pops up everywhere. In this recipe, stewing the cabbage down produces a sweet rich flavour for the sauce. This is perfect hearty, wintry fare.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 juniper berries, crushed with a little salt using a mortar and pestle
4 x 200-300g pork steaks
50g toasted hazelnuts, chopped, to garnish
1 Heavy pickling solution, made using 1 heirloom beetroot, very thinly sliced

Cabbage sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1kg cabbage, 1/2 thinly sliced, 1/2 cut into wedges
50g smoked bacon lardons or chopped rashers
50g salted butter
250ml white wine
500ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon golden syrup or treacle
100ml pouring cream

Bean purée

Quantity Ingredient
100ml full-cream milk
450g tinned cannellini beans
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 small garlic clove, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream


  1. In a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, gently sweat the sliced cabbage and bacon in the butter for just under an hour, until soft and lightly caramelised.
  2. Pour in the wine and stock and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
  3. Reserving the sauce in a bowl, drain the cabbage through a fine sieve. Press the cabbage with the back of a spoon to get out as much liquid as possible. Discard.
  4. Add the golden syrup or treacle to the reserved liquid then pour into a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook until the sauce has reduced to one-third of its original volume. Stir in the cream. Season to taste.
  5. To make the bean purée, heat the milk, cannellini beans, nutmeg and garlic in a small saucepan until the milk is steaming. Transfer to a blender, add the crème fraîche or sour cream and blend to a smooth purée. Check the seasoning before returning to the pan.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly oil the cabbage wedges with 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil. Season, then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  7. Rub the juniper and salt mix over the pork steaks. Heat the remaining oil in a chargrill pan or frying pan until hot. Fry the steaks for 5–8 minutes on each side until cooked through. Check that they are cooked by slicing into the thickest part of the meat; it should be white all the way through with no pink.
  8. Reheat the cabbage sauce, aerating it with a coffee frother or whisk for a lighter consistency, if you like. Spoon the bean purée on to plates and top with the cabbage wedges and then the pork. Pour over the cabbage sauce before garnishing with the hazelnuts and pickled beetroot.
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