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Braised Red Cabbage

November 14, 2011

A co-worker shared this recipe with me years ago and I whipped it out for last night’s “Friendsgiving” with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans. For a great recap of the entire meal check out Mara’s blog post). Color on a dinner plate is key and traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and creamed onions are all shades of brown. Luckily, these gals, with whom I share the love of food, cooking, wine and dishing about it are far from traditional so our plates were as colorful as the conversation around the table. We feasted on cranberry, pecan and orange stuffed buttercup squash, fresh green bean casserole topped with carmelized onions and mushrooms, delicate squash spätzle with ricotta and Parmesan, an eggy bake with leeks and other savouries, a gorgeous salt and whiskey brined turkey and divine apple, sausage stuffing cooked to perfection. My contributions of this  braised cabbage, apples and red onions and cranberry-onion-horseradish ” relish” added a spash of pinky purple to the plates and received their share of thumbs up from these gourmands, I’m sure they’ll be a hit on your holiday table too.

While this recipe uses the reverse steps technically known in braising, it does employ both moist and dry heat. The following exerpt I found online explains braising well. “Most braises follow the same basic steps. The food to be braised (meat, poultry, but also vegetables or mushrooms) is first seared to brown its surface and enhance its flavor (through a process known as the Maillard reaction). If the food will not produce enough liquid of its own, a small amount of cooking liquid that often includes an acidic element, such as tomatoes, beer, or wine, is added to the pot, often with stock. The dish is cooked covered at a very low simmer until the meat is fork tender. Often the cooking liquid is finished to create a sauce or gravy. Sometimes foods with high water content (particularly vegetables) can be cooked in their own juices and no extra liquid is required. A successful braise intermingles the flavors of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid.”

 Braised Red Cabbage

Serves 6

15 minutes prep and assembly. 1  1/2 hours baking time

  • 1 small red cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter cut in small pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice cabbage, onion and apple. Place 1/4 of the cabbage in bottom of oven proof casserole, season with salt and pepper; top with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/3 of apples and 1/3 onions. Continue to layer cabbage, sugar, apples and onion; end with layer of cabbage. Top with pieces of butter and drizzle vinegar over all. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue baking until cabbage is tender and liquid has evaporated (about 30 minutes).

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