Fire-Roasted Cabbage With Roasted Chili-Chestnut Sauce

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This cabbage dish is a good one to make ahead—the cabbage is even better when it has a few hours or even overnight to chill before you grill! Nico Albert makes this dish using a sous vide for maximum flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, but it’s just as delicious slow-roasted in the oven. You can finish this dish on a grill over a wood fire or bed of charcoal, but it can be prepared on the stovetop as well.

Total Cook Time: 6 hours | Serves 4

Source: The Blue Zones American Kitchen, Photo: David McLain


1 head green cabbage, cut into four wedges (with the core left intact)

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 tablespoons ground sumac

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage


Freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Roasted Chili-Chestnut Sauce Ingredients

1 red bell pepper

1 dried guajillo chili, split lengthwise and seeded

1 dried ancho chili, split lengthwise and seeded

7 whole roasted chestnuts

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon salt


  1. To make the fire-roasted cabbage, drizzle the cabbage wedges with the sunflower oil. Use your hands to spread the oil all over to coat the outside. Season with the sumac, sage, salt, and pepper, making sure all sides get seasoning.
  2. If you have a sous vide machine, place the wedges in a vacuum bag (depending on the size of the bags, one to two wedges will fit in each), and seal according to directions. Place the cabbage wedges in an immersion bath set at 180°F and cook for 4 hours.
  3. If you don’t have a sous vide, roast the cabbage wedges in the oven with low heat to achieve a similar effect. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the prepared cabbage wedges on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish that fits them snugly. Add ¼ cup of water to the baking sheet and cover it with foil. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the cabbage wedges over. If needed to prevent burning, add a splash or two more of water. Bake for another hour.
  4. Once cooked, chill the cabbage in the refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

Roasted Chili-Chestnut Sauce Directions

  1. To make the roasted chili-chestnut sauce, roast the bell pepper. You can do this over a wood or charcoal grill, on the stovetop, or in the oven. If using a grill, place the pepper directly on the grill before the initial flames die down and cook, turning occasionally, until it is blackened on all sides.
  2. On a gas stovetop, roast the bell pepper directly in the flames of the burner. In an oven, use the highest setting of the broiler. Cook until it’s blackened on all sides.
  3. Place the charred pepper in a resealable plastic bag or wrap it in foil to allow it to steam as it cools.
  4. While the bell pepper cools, bring cup of water to boil. Then, toast the dried chilis over the fire. Place the chilis directly on the grill and toast them briefly—you want the color to darken and the chilis to puff slightly—but remove them before they blacken. You can also toast the chilis in a hot, dry skillet on the stovetop. Once the chilis are cooked, place them in a small bowl and cover them with the boiling water, weighing them down with a small plate, if necessary, to keep them submerged.
  5. When the bell pepper has cooled enough to handle, remove the charred skin by gently wiping it away with your fingers. Remove the stem and seeds, and place the roasted pepper in a blender.
  6. When the water for soaking the dried chilies has cooled enough to touch, the chilis will have softened enough. Remove them, reserving the soaking liquid, and place the chilis in the blender with the roasted bell pepper. Add the roasted chestnuts, maple syrup, and salt. Add about ½ cup of the chili-soaking liquid to the blender. Blend the mixture starting on low speed, then increase the speed to high until a smooth sauce forms. Add additional chili-soaking liquid if the mixture is too thick; it should have a smooth consistency that coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Take the pre-cooked cabbage out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Start your grill: When the cooking fire has burned enough to have a good bed of hot coals, or the charcoal has burned to the point that it’s completely gray, your grill is ready for the cabbage. Cook the cabbage until it has caramelized and has been charred on all sides and heated through. If preparing the dish on a stovetop, you can sear the outside of the cabbage in a skillet over high heat to caramelize the outside and heat it through.
  8. To serve, pour a generous amount of the roasted chili-chestnut sauce on each plate, and place each roasted cabbage directly in the pool of sauce. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired.