And a Very Cabbagey New Year!

4 Jan

Many food sections and bloggers around the world this week seem have drawn a clear dividing line between holiday indulgence and New Year austerity. Out with the roast dinners, the chocolates and the booze, in with the single lettuce leaf and bread and water, hold the bread.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t feel the need to cut back at the moment; I think if I saw a Yorkshire pudding or a latke right now I might cry. But I think there is a third way between and gluttony and denial, and the path I see before me is paved with delicious vegetables.

The following recipe for red cabbage straddles that border between old year and new– warm and comforting, but also bright and flavourful. The original recipe calls for redcurrant jelly to be stirred in at the end, but I prefer the balance a little more on the side of sourness. It’s a classic alongside rich roasts (especially duck and goose), but I could also imagine it with a vegetable tart or even potato kugel.

Indeed, I was so enamoured with the flavours of this dish that I tried making a salad version from the Temporary Vegetarian column in the New York Times. But I don’t recommend it – the heat softens the cabbage’s earthiness and makes the flavours coalesce in a way they can’t in a salad, which tasted like a roller derby, not a symphony.

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple (originally from Waitrose)

Serves 8 as a side dish

1 onion, thinly sliced

25g butter

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 small red cabbage (or ½ large one), cut into thin strips

1 Bramley/Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and coarsely grated

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

100ml water

salt and pepper to taste

Making the Thing

Warm the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes, until soft but not coloured.

Add the nutmeg and allspice, stir for another minute.

Add the cabbage, apple, vinegar, sugar, and water to the pan. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover tightly and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

This is even better with some resting time, so if you want amazing flavor, make it the night before you want to serve it. To reheat, just warm it in a pan, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water to avoid drying it out.

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