January 23, 2008

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Makes 2 quarts

A kind of Latin American sauerkraut, cortido begins with cabbage, carrots, and onions, which are left for at least a week to ferment. Some cooks like to leave the cabbage mixture for a month. Fermenting isn't an exact science. After slicing and grating the vegetables, you have to leave them until they release enough liquid to make their own brine. If there isn't enough liquid, add salted water to the mixture (start with 1 cup water with 1 pinch of salt; add more water as needed). Sterilize two 1-quart glass jars with boiling water to pack the cortido in.

1 large green cabbage, quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 medium onions, quartered and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons sea salt

1. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, onions, oregano, and red pepper.

2. Add the salt and continue to mix, crushing lightly with the side of a spoon to begin breaking down the vegetables. Cover loosely and let the mixture rest for 1 hour or until the vegetables have released their liquid.

3. Pack the mixture into the sterilized jars, pressing it down with the back of a spoon until it is submerged in brine. If necessary, make salted-water brine and add it to the jars until the vegetables are submerged. Cover the jars loosely with their lids.

4. Leave the jars out for 3 days, checking regularly, resubmerging the vegetables under the brine, if necessary. They will bubble a little as the fermentation begins. Cover tightly and move to a cool dark place or refrigerate.

5. Taste the cortido after 1 week of fermenting. Store for 6 months or more. - Adapted from "Nourishing Traditions"