The beautiful golden crust on top with crispy cabbage edges hides a creamy, cheesy, mustard spiked sauce below. The cabbage goes wonderfully with the chestnuts and makes this a great wintertime dish. The richness is kept in check by the acidity from the mustard and this, combined with the wine, makes for a rather alpine-style eating experience. It is important with this recipe to use good-quality wine as it shines through in the finished dish; a dry or oxidative white wine is best.
Photography: Joe Woodhouse
1 Savoy cabbage (about 800g), trimmed of any tough leaves and the dry base, cut through the stem into eight wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g unsalted butter
4 onions (about 600g), roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
100ml good-quality white wine or sherry
200g crème fraîche
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
100g cheese, grated (such as Gruyère or Comté)
200g cooked chestnuts, roughly broken up
sea salt flakes and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4.
Place the cabbage wedges on a roasting tray, drizzle with the oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until tender and the edges are beginning to colour.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, for 15–20 minutes until soft but without colour, checking occasionally and giving everything a good stir.
Add the wine or sherry and allow to bubble off, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Put the mixture in a blender and add the crème fraîche, mustard and half the cheese. Blend until smooth, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Spoon some of this sauce onto a suitable dish for the gratin. Add the cabbage wedges, cut-side down, in one layer. Scatter over the chestnut pieces. Coat everything well with the rest of the sauce. Finish with the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and slightly thickened.
Heat the grill to a high heat. Grill for a final 5–10 minutes to get the top lovely and golden.
Crack over black pepper and serve with a salad, to drag around in the gratin juices.
Vegetables sometimes don’t get the airtime that they should, and Joe Woodhouse’s cookbook puts them centre stage. Taking you through the seasons and giving you simple, comforting, nourishing recipes, this cookbook is one that you’ll want on your shelf mid-week and at the weekend. Your Daily Veg: Modern, Fuss-Free Vegetarian Food by Joe Woodhouse is published by Kyle Books, 22.00, www.octopusbooks.co.uk. Photography Credit: Joe Woodhouse.