Few cooking techniques are as decidedly “winter” as braising. The method telegraphs a slow, lazy day of cooking — and it proclaims comfort food … and nothing says Sunday dinner better than braised comfort food.
If you’re even the slightest bit ‘iffy’ about cabbage, trust me, this will make a convert of you. Anne has dubbed this “show-stealing-cabbage” and I have to say there are few sides in the world that I’ve tasted that can compete. How good is it? If you’re like me, you find ways to make it in the heat of summer as well, but doing it outside on the barbecue. Credit goes to Gordon Ramsay for inspiration.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2h30min
Servings: 8 (plus)
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
1.5 lbs red cabbage (roughly 1 small head), coarsely sliced
2 medium Braeburn apples (tart and firm)
2/3 cup (150g) butter
2/3 cup (150g) brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and, tracing the stainless steel pan you will use, cut out a round piece of parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a stainless steel, oven-proof pan, melt butter and sugar together over medium heat; add cider vinegar and cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and remove from heat and set aside.
3. Coarsely slice the cabbage. Core and thickly slice the apples: 16-24 slices/apple. I’ve chosen Braeburn apples because they have a nice blend of tart and sweet, but, more importantly, they are great cooking apples because they hold their shape (i.e. they don’t turn into apple sauce).
4. Mix the cabbage and apples into the pan, coating well. Crumble the parchment paper and soak under water and then spread it over the contents of the pan.
5. Place pan in oven and bake for 90 minutes — but remove pan from oven every 30 minutes to redampen and re-place the parchment paper over the pan. After 90 minutes, remove parchment paper entirely and finish cooking another 30 minutes. Remove from oven when the cabbage is fork tender and the liquid has reduced to a light syrup.
→ Note: If the flavours of this weren’t enough to make it a stand out dish, what makes it even more perfect is that you can prepare it in advance. It’s great for dinner parties because, once made, it can be kept warm for a few hours in this state. Just cover and leave in the cooling oven and give it a burst of heat, stove-top, when ready to serve.