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Unlikely go-togethers: squab and cabbage.

Despite their unequal status in the food world, lofty squab and lowly cabbage are made for each other. The rich, intense flavor of dark-fleshed squab holds up to the robust flavor of cabbage.

In each of the following presentations, we've matched these small birds with a different variety of cabbage. Try soy-braised squab with wedges of steamed napa cabbage, grilled split squab with slow-cooked green cabbage, or roasted split birds with sauteed red cabbage.

Squab weigh about a pound each, an ideal size for an individual serving. You can serve the birds whole or split, or for easier eating, you can bone the body cavity, leaving bones in legs and wings (see photographs on page 266). Sometimes you can order whole birds boned in the same manner.

Squab cook quickly, especially when split or boned; the lean flesh is moistest when served slightly rare. If you prefer squab well done, braise them until tender.

The luxury-priced birds ($5 to $8 each) are available at specialty supermarkets or poultry dealers and Chinese poultry markets (check the yellow pages under Poultry). It's best to order ahead.

Braised Soy Squab with Napa Cabbage 4 squab (about 1 lb. each) 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup dry sherry Water 2 tablespoons sugar 2 whole star anise (or 1 teaspoon anise seed and 1 cinnamon stick, about 3 in.) 4 thin slices (about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger 1 strip orange peel (orange part only), 4 to 6 inches long 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 1 head (about 1 lb.) napa cabbage 4 whole green onions

Remove giblets and neck from squab; reserve for other uses. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine soy, sherry, 2-1/2 cups water, sugar, star anise, ginger, orange peel, and garlic. Bring to boiling; add squab, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Lift out squab; keep warm. Boil pan juices on high heat, uncovered, until reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Skim off and discard fat.

Meanwhile, cut cabbage lengthwise through the core into quarters. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pan or wok. Lay cabbage quarters in a single layer on a rack (cook only 2 at a time if crowded) 1/2 to 3 inches above boiling water. Cover; steam cabbage until barely tender when pierced, 5 to 7 minutes. Lift out and serve alongside squab; garnish with green onion. Spoon reduced juices over individual servings. Serves 4.

Roast Squab with Red Cabbage 4 squab (about 1 lb. each) 2 cups orange juice 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons salad oil 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 large red onion, thinly sliced 1-1/2 pounds red cabbage, shredded (about 3 qt.) 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon grated orange peel Salt Orange wedges

Remove giblets and neck from squab; reserve for other uses. With poultry shears or a knife, cut along squab backbone to split open. Or bone body of squab as shown below.

In a pan, about 9 by 13 inches, mix 1 cup of the orange juice, mustard, and oil. Coat squab in juice mixture; cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until very limp. Add cabage, vinegar, and remaining orange juice cook, uncovered, stirring until cabbage is tender and liquid evaporates, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in sugar and grated orange peel, and add salt to taste.

Meanwhile, lay squab, skin side up, on a rack in a 12- by 14-inch broiler pan; reserve marinade. Bake, uncovered, in a 500[deg.] oven, brushing several times with reserved marinade, until the birds are browned and breast meat is pink at bone (cut to test), 15 to 20 minutes.

Spoon the cabbage alongside squab; garnish with orange wedges. Serves 4.

Grilled Squab and Apples with Slow-cooked Cabbage 4 squab (1 lb. each) 1 cup apple juice 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons crushed fennel seed or caraway seed 2 tablespoons salad oil 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 2 large onions, thinly sliced 1-1/2 pounds green cabbage, shredded (about 3 qt.) Salt 2 large Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut in half lengthwise

Remove giblets and neck from squab; reserve for other uses. With poultry shears or a knife, cut along squab backbone to split open. Or bone body of squab as shown on page 266.

In a pan, about 9 by 13 inches, mix apple juice, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon fennel seed, and oil. Coast squab with marinade. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Lift out squab and reserve marinade.

In a 12- to 14-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until limp. Stir in cabbage and remaining 1 tablespoon fennel seed; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very limp and slightly gold, 20 to 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low if cabbage begins to brown. Add salt to taste. Keep mixture warm.

Meanwhile, lay the apples and squab, skin side down, on a grill set 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals. Cook, basting with reserved marinade (watch closely for flare-ups; have a squirt bottle of water ready to extinguish flames). Turn foods often to prevent burning. Cook until apples are soft when squeezed and squab is browned and breast is pink at bone (cut to test), 15 to 20 minutes. If apples are done before squab, push them to cool part of grill and continue cooking the squab.

Serve squab with cabbage and apples. Makes 4 servings.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:May 1, 1985
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