Blood Orange Braised Cabbage on Barley

I’m out of season, and a bit late to the blood orange party.  But, I just can’t help myself and wanted to tell you about this delicious cabbage dish I made last week (my teenage self would be appalled that I just said “delicious cabbage,” yup, getting old).  I was lucky to find a few straggling bloods at a small market a couple weeks ago, and was super pumped to be able to try this recipe.  You can certainly make this with navel or whatever oranges you have on hand, or you can file this one away to make next winter.  Either way, here we go.

Prepare the barley according to the package directions or your favorite method.  Like most grains, be sure to give them a good washing first.


Slice the cabbage & onions, and mince the garlic.


Juice 1 cup worth of blood oranges (Sarah said 3-4 oranges, but I needed over 5 to reach 1 cup) and segment 1 orange.


By the way, if you’re in the mood to spend a lot of $ on a really badass citrus juicer, buy this guy.


Total demolition.

Lots of spice = lots of braising flavor.


Mustard seeds go in first until they start popping.  Yes, they really do pop so use the largest pot you’ve got.  It sounded like rice krispies.

Then the fennel, bay leaves, star anise, and pepper go in.  If you don’t really like anise flavored things, still give this recipe a shot.  I HATE strong anise flavor (black licorice, absinthe – yuck), but the cooking really mellows it out.


Add the sliced cabbage (another reason to use your largest pot).  Don’t fret, like spinach it will wilt down.


And take on an even prettier color in the process.


To serve, just plate the barley, pile on the braised cabbage, and top with a few orange segments.  (I wish I had fresh parsley on hand, but alas, I was out.)


Blood Orange Braised Cabbage on Barley – (instructions slightly adapted)

1 cup lightly pearled or hulled barley
2 – 2 ½ cups water or broth
¼ tsp. sea salt

1 small head red cabbage (approx. 1 lb.)
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
knob of coconut oil or ghee
½ tsp. sea salt
5 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
½ Tbsp mustard seeds
2 whole star anise
black pepper
1 cup blood orange juice (from 4-6 blood oranges, any orange would be fine)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 blood orange, segmented for garnish
flat-leaf parsley (or mint), for garnish if desired
olive oil to garnish

Rinse / wash 1 cup of barley, and cook according to package directions.

While the barley is cooking, prepare all the vegetables. Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons, slice onions, mince garlic. Juice oranges, and segment one for garnish, set aside.

Heat a knob of coconut oil or ghee in a large stockpot. Add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add fennel seeds, bay leaves, star anise, and a few grinds of black pepper. Let cook for about a minute. Add onions, stir to coat and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and cabbage, stir to coat and let sit on medium heat for a couple minutes to caramelize the vegetables.

Next add the apple cider vinegar and stir – this will deglaze the bottom of the pot. Pour in the orange juice, stir well. With the pot covered, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is cooked to your liking. (I liked it really cooked down, took about 25 min.)

To serve, place a helping of barley on each plate, followed by the braised cabbage, a few segments of blood orange, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Yield – 4 servings*

* even though my cabbage was only a bit over 1 lb., I wound up with way more cabbage than barley.  This was A-OK with us since we loved the cabbage.  Leftovers were piled onto brown rice or just eaten solo.  It kept in the fridge for a good week.


8 thoughts on “Blood Orange Braised Cabbage on Barley

  1. Pingback: Happy Crackers … endless combos | hearthomemade

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s