Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Braised Red Cabbage

As the winter weather descends upon us, nothing is more cosy than puttering around home while delicious food slow cooks in the oven, releasing aromatic scents that soothe the soul. Everyone has different ideas of comfort food depending on nationality, heritage, or what part of the country you come from. Some regions have specific cuisines that are synonymous with them - think Cajun in the Louisiana area of the US, Tex-Mex or the homey comforts I grew up with on east coast of Canada. Most of the ancestry there is British & French with a mix of European, and over time, the cuisines have melded together to make wonderfully delicious food. 

One thing that I really like is cabbage. Cooked or raw, both are delicious. Cabbage is sometimes looked down upon as a poor man's vegetable, but it kept our ancestors alive when times were so rough, we cannot even imagine. When it starts getting chilly outside, I make braised red cabbage. 

First a layer of finely sliced cabbage goes into an oven proof pot. I like to use my enamel-coated cast iron one for this. 

Then a layer of chopped apples & onions, some brown sugar, garlic & spices. Keep layering until the pot is full. 

The top gets dotted with butter and then pour on some vinegar. Put the lid on,

And into the oven it goes for a couple of hours. 

When it's finished cooking, you have a delicious sweet and sour cabbage dish. This is wonderful hot or even at room temperature. It keeps well in the refrigerator for quite a few days and re-heats beautifully in the microwave. 

Braised Red Cabbage

¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1-1½ tbsp. brown sugar
1 pound red cabbage (approx. half of a medium head)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 small tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped (if you have a sweeter variety, use less sugar)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1½-2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 300°F. 
In a small bowl, mix together spices and brown sugar. Set aside. 
Remove core and tough outer leaves from cabbage. Shred or slice the cabbage very thinly. 
Arrange 1/3 of the cabbage in the bottom of an oven proof casserole. Top with a few shakes of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Then layer half of the apples, onions and garlic over the cabbage. On top of that, sprinkle half of the brown sugar & spice mixture. 
Continue layers, ending with red cabbage on top.
Pour on the vinegar and dot the top with butter. 
Put the lid on and braise in the oven for 2-2½ hours, stirring a couple of times. 

Serves 4  

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