When the weather starts to turn cold, I love to warm things up with a homemade batch of kimchi. I used to get all my ingredients at one of Paris' many Chinese food stores, like Tang Frères or Paris Store. But then I noticed that certain ingredients can be found in a variety of other locations- like my local coop or market. Chou Chinois is one of those ingredients that originates from abroad but is locally grown on many French farms. This cabbage variety is great fermented, raw, or cooked- and it's in season right now.
What: Chou Chinois (Chinese Cabbage)
Where: Marché Biologique des Batignolles, 75017
When: October 27, 2012
Who: Au Val du Coûtant, local producers from Chailly en Brie
How: Chinese cabbage can be eaten raw in a salad, of fermented along with green onions, ginger, and spices to make kimchi. The vendor at Marché Batignolles suggested a method of cooking the cabbage that retains its taste and vitamins.
The French call this way of preparing cabbage "à l'etouffée". Add your cabbage to a pot of salted, boiling water and let cook for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cabbage and let cool.
In a large pot add chopped carrots, onions, and ham (if you're making this dish vegetarian, omit the ham and add a little butter), dried thyme, and a bay leaf. Flavor with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage and a cover with hot water. Let cook on low heat for 2 hours.
Cabbage is a great ingredient for a hearty Winter meal and is a good source of Vitamins C and A- so enjoy it while it's in season!