Mushroom, cabbage, black beans and tamari

Cabbage, mushrooms, and black beans

Cabbages always make me think of the Vittorio DeSica film Miracolo a Milano. De Sica is better known for his very realistic films – Bicycle Thief and Sciuscia, which show ordinary people in day-to-day situations which become beautiful and incredibly important when De Sica films them. Miracolo a Milano is literally a departure. It’s about ordinary people, about poor people, but it’s a fable, it’s unabashedly magical and fantastical. Toto is found in a cabbage patch, he’s taken in by a kind older woman, when she dies he’s sent to an orphanage, but she’s given him a magical dove. He winds up in a shantytown, and when oil is discovered in the shantytown, greedy capitalists try to send the squatters to prison. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I won’t tell you how they rise above all that! The film is full of kindness, grace, and sweetness, but it’s also sharp, clever, funny and bitingly satirical.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes…

We’ve gotten a lot of cabbage from our CSA lately. Here’s one of the ways I prepared it. It’s loosely modeled on MooShoo vegetable, but made a bit more substantial by the addition of black beans. Very simple and quick to make, very tasty. We ate it with rice and tortillas.

Here’s The Jackson Sisters with I Believe in Miracles.

2 cups cabbage (+/-) sliced into 1/4 inch by 2 inch pieces
10 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 T & 2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 t powdered ginger, or about 1/2 inch fresh, grated or minced
1 T tamari
1 egg, beaten
salt and plenty of black pepper

Basmati rice and tortillas to eat, if you like

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix the mushrooms with 2 T of olive oil, spread in a single layer. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, till they’re starting to get brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the 1 T of olive oil. Add the garlic and fresh ginger, if you’re using. After about a minute, when the garlic starts to brown, add the black beans. Mix and stir. Add a the tamari, a few tablespoons of water and the ginger, and then stir in the cabbage. Stir for a few minutes, till it just starts to wilt, but is still quite crunchy. Cook it till you like it!

When the cabbage is to your taste and the pan is quite dry, stir in the mushrooms. Stirring quickly, add the egg, breaking it up as it cooks on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with basmati rice and warm tortillas, if you like.


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