Updated: Nov 10
I am crazy about my newest cookbook: Bryant Terry's Vegetable Kingdom. Bryant Terry is a vegan chef inspired by Black diaspora ingredients and cooking techniques. This book features lesser-known African grains like teff and fonio, and also has recipes for things I have seen in the store but never tried, like sunchokes and taro root.
This recipe is so hearty and flavorful that the carnivore in my house loved it, and asked that I make it again soon. It does not look like much on the plate, but you have to believe me when I tell you it that delivers great flavors and textures. The cabbage still has some good slaw-like crunch, with a faintly peppery spice. The carrot purée, with its touch of wine vinegar, is such a brilliant and simple element, and on its own it can make an excellent side for other meals.
This meal was particularly comforting to eat in front of the tv (again!) as we watched America: The Season Finale this week. I really hope America comes back for another season, as it was a pretty incredible cliffhanger.
And here is the beauty part: not including the condiments, spices, and oils (which were not fancy), it cost me about $3 to make. You can feed four people very, very well for $3! This is a recipe to hang onto!
Bryant comes from a family of musicians, and music is clearly infused in his cooking. Each recipe includes a track that in some way speaks to or complements the dish. I just love this idea, and have been introduced to a lot of great music by cooking along with him. This recipe features the extremely groovy "Wubit" by the Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience. Thanks to Bryant, I started learning more about Mulatu this weekend, and wanted to share an extraordinary live performance. This sublime man and his beautiful music are soothing to listen to after seeing so many rampaging idiots this week.
Below is the version of the recipe I made. It follows Bryant's pretty closely.
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (it's important that the potatoes are in evenly sized pieces) 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more as needed Freshly ground white pepper (if you don't have white pepper you can use black pepper I suppose, but I really like white pepper and use it a lot) 1 pound carrots (1/2 bag), thinly sliced 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus more as needed 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon sugar half a head of cabbage, thinly sliced 6 tablespoons vegetable stock chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
Bryant's recipe features Ginger-Habanero Vinegar (recipe below), but I did not have any chilies, so I just stirred some chopped ginger into some rice vinegar for the final topping. I think it is important not to skip this step, as the dish needs a dash of acid to brighten it. I think a bit of lemon or lime juice might work here too, if there is nothing else available.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, olive oil, salt, and a few turns of white pepper and toss.
Spread the potatoes over the prepared baking sheet in one layer and roast until crisp and golden on the edges, ~40 minutes.
While the potatoes are roasting, in a medium saucepan, combine the carrots, ¾ cup water, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and steam the carrots until tender, ~15 minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander.
Transfer the carrots to a blender, add the red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and purée, adding a little of the carrot water until smooth. Add more vinegar to brighten the purée, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. The rest of this dish has to come togther fairly quickly, so that the purée does not get cold. I suggest keeping it in a warm place (not so warm it dries out, though!) while you cook the rest.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir frequently to prevent the spices from burning, until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes. Quickly add the cabbage and sauté, stirring often, until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and the roasted potatoes, and gently toss to combine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
To serve, spread a layer of the carrot purée over four plates, scoop a mound of the sautéed cabbage and potatoes on top, and sprinkle with ginger-vinegar. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Bryant Terry's Ginger-Habanero Vinegar
3 habanero chiles, stemmed and seeded ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar ½ cup distilled white vinegar 1½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar Pinch of kosher salt
Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegars, ginger, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately pour the vinegar mixture over the chiles and let cool completely.
Just get the book. It's brilliant.