It’s the darkest time of year in the north, but that’s no reason to go hungry.
Try this simple recipe from Full Moon Feast for a hearty solstice-time meal. Jessica Prentice’s classic cookbook takes you through the year, with legends and traditions associated with each full moon, and recipes connected to history and place.
The following is an excerpt from Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection by Jessica Prentice. It has been adapted for the Web.
The Moon of Long Nights arrives in late autumn as the days grow shorter and the winter solstice approaches. In some parts of the world nights are so long that dawn and dusk occur almost at the same time. It is eerie to contemplate such sunless days, and yet they are an annual reality for many northern dwellers. Even those people living at moderately northern latitudes experience the shortness of the day and the length of the night at this time of year. It is a time of darkness.
Western post-industrial society is not very comfortable with darkness. To the modern Western mind, darkness is a symbol of ignorance, death, danger, depression, and even evil—not a very positive set of connotations. It is no wonder that we have developed so many technologies that dispel it. But the lightbulb is a very recent invention. For the vast majority of human history there was no electricity, and light came from just a few sources: the sun, the moon, the stars, and fire.
Sausage with Potatoes and Cabbage
This is one of my favorite wintertime meals. I consider it an eintopf—the German word for a one-pot meal.
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, olive oil, lard, or other fat
- 2 whole fresh sausages in casings
- 2 leeks, sliced thin, including much of the green part—or 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 1 small head cabbage or ½ large head cabbage, shredded
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- ½ bunch greens (chard, kale, collards; or mustard, radish, or turnip greens), sliced into ribbons
- 3 medium potatoes (such as Yukon gold), diced
- ½ cup hot water or stock, or more as needed
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup sauerkraut (optional)
- Sour cream or crème fraîche
- Heat the bacon drippings, oil, or fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the whole sausages and brown on both sides.
- Add the leeks (or onions) to the pan around the sausage and sauté. When the sausage is cooked through, remove it from the pan and let it cool.
- Add the shredded cabbage to the pan along with a pinch of salt and the optional caraway seeds. Continue to sauté a few minutes, until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Add the greens and stir gently.
- Add the diced potatoes, another pinch of salt, and the hot water or stock. Cover, reduce the heat somewhat, and steam until potatoes are just tender. Add more water or stock if the pan gets too dry.
- Slice the sausage into ½-inch-thick pieces and add it back to the pan, stirring to incorporate and heat through. You can also leave the sausage whole or cut it in half.
- Add plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the optional sauerkraut.
- Serve in a shallow bowl with a big dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.