Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 29, 2011: Grenoble - Préfecture, Painted Caves, Julia Child's Cabbage

Today we returned to the Préfecture, hoping that we'd successfully gathered and translated all the appropriate documents for the carte de séjour application, based on the list we'd received on our last visit. And indeed we had! The woman we dealt with was rather severe and abrupt, but by the end of our transaction seemed to have softened up a bit - perhaps my extreme preparedness with five photocopies of every possible document showed her how willing I was to work with the French bureaucracy. She pulled out all the pieces of paper she wanted, stapled them into a folder, and told us we'd receive a letter in the mail that would tell us about the next step.

To reward myself for our Préfecture triumph I went home and purchased Jean M. Auel's new book, "The Land of Painted Caves". Her series, set in prehistoric France/Spain, had been on my mind since seeing the cave near Seyssinet-Periset on the weekend. When I Googled to find out where the caves in the novels were located, I found out that a new book was being released on March 29, 2011 - what a coincidence! The last novel wasn't very good (very derivative of the first four books in the series), but I can't help but wonder how it's all going to turn out. This was also my first e-book purchase ever - although I don't have an e-reader, I can read it on my laptop.

While I sat down to an afternoon of reading I planned a leisurely dinner dish - Julia Child's red cabbage, braised in red wine. Here's a modified version of her recipe, which is what I made based on our small oven and a few ingredient substitutions - delicious!

Half Batch of Julia Child's Braised Red Cabbage with Red Wine


1/8 lb sausage
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb (3 or 4 cups) small red cabbage, quartered and cut into 1/2" slices
2 cups diced tart apples
1 clove mashed garlic
2 ground bay leavves (if you only have dried leaves, soak first and then chop as finely as possible)
1/8 tsp clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup good, young red wine (Bordeaux, Chianti)
1cup chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or in Europe, th 7).

Chop the sausage into strips 1 1/2" long & 1/4" across. Cook the sauage, carrots and onion in the butter slowly in a large, covered pot for 10 minutes on medium-low heat without browning. Stir in the cabbage leaves and when well covered with the butter and vegetables, cook at the same temperature slowly for 10 minutes. Add all additional ingredients and increase heat. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Transfer to a glass casserole dish, cover tightly with foil and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Regulate heat so cabbage bubbles slowly for 2 to 3 hours until all the liquid has been absorbed by the cabbage. Serves 4 people.


  1. I have some red cabbage in my fridge that I would like to try cooking this way. Is the sausage cooked or raw when you slice it the way you've described? What type of sausage (from a typical Toronto grocery store) would be the right type of flavour here?

  2. At home in Toronto I usually use prosciuttino, which is quite dense and sweet. If you can get it, that would be my first pick.