The end of December found me with a head of Napa cabbage that I'd bought for a different recipe that I ended up not making. Further scrounging in the fridge netted some very flavorful pan juices from our Christmas ham, half an onion, and some carrots. With barley from the pantry and a pound of spicy pork breakfast sausage from the freezer, I came up with this.
Shane and I loved it (Kat wasn't home to try it), and I'll be making it again. It's a great flex recipe. Use any kind of cabbage or fresh greens instead of Napa cabbage. Try it with mild sausage, Italian sausage, or chorizo. Use rice or quinoa instead of barley, although I do recommend cooking the grain in a flavorful broth instead of plain water. All the better if the broth is homemade.
This can easily be a one-dish meal, and makes four servings if you eat like a normal person. If you pig out like we did that night, don't expect more than two servings.
Sausage and Cabbage Skillet
1/2 cup barley
1-1/2 cups meat or vegetable stock (I used ham stock)
1 pound pork breakfast sausage
1 head Napa cabbage or any other cabbage or greens
1/2 large onion, sliced into strips
1 carrot, peeled and grated
salt and pepper as desired (will depend on the sausage and stock you use; I didn't add any)
Rinse barley and put in small saucepan with stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender.
Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Drain fat if necessary, but leave about 2 Tablespoons of drippings in the pan.
Chop Napa cabbage, or slice into 1/2-inch strips and add to sausage in pan, along with onion strips and grated carrot. Cook and stir mixture over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender. Cover and keep mixture warm until barley has finished cooking.
Once barley is tender, stir into cabbage and sausage mixture.