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Spiced red cabbage is what’s making the house smell SO DARN GOOD right now! As I walk through the kitchen, I am met with thyme, anise, cinnamon, red wine, and sugary balsamic aromas that are making me so hungry. Braised red cabbage is one of those dishes that just envokes so many memories. Read on, head to the shops, and buy the ingredients and full your household with their own memories!
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
Here in Australia are seasons are ‘back to front’ to the rest of the world. For example, we are nearly in July, and back in Ireland, I would be celebrating the one or two days of summer sun we get. Instead, here we are talking about things like Christmas in July. This is precisely what it sounds like – a celebration of Christmas in July. Nope, there isn’t Santa or presents like at Christmas time. It’s more about celebrating the food the rest of the world eats in December.
So, with that being said, it’s the PERFECT time to bring my spiced red cabbage recipe to the table. Aside from being GREAT to feed the family, you can make it ahead of time, so it’s one less thing to stress about come serving time. Dunno about you but my family was always about 52 side dishes on the table and 100 dirty pots in the kitchen leaving very full and drunk family members having to do their best not to squabble during clean up time #disaster
CUTTING RED CABBAGE
A VERY technical part of the cooking! Well, not really, but there is the right way to do it, so you have more even cuts and aren’t left with big wedges of the root and 1/2 the dish cooked perfectly and the other either mushy or overcooked. Follow these simple steps, and you will be right as rain!
1. First, slice the cabbage in half through the core
2. Slice each segment in half – through the core again
3. Slice the roots at an angle to remove as much of the root as necessary – the angle will vary depending upon how big the root is
4. Starting from the top (away from the root end), slice the cabbage width ways into ribbons about 1cm thick
MAKING BRAISED RED CABBAGE
The beauty of the dish is in its simplicity. Slow and steady wins the race with this one. All you need is a sharp knife, chopping board, a large pot, and you are good to go. Oh, and probably a wooden spoon to. It really is that easy! The key to its success is in the time. You are looking at approx 2 hours to make this dish. It does seem like a long time, but what you are left with is sweet, spicy, and sticky goodness. There is enough to feed 8+ ppl as a side dish, AND it can be made in advance, so it’s a real winner – in my opinion.
Simply slice up the cabbage as mentioned above, slice up some onion and apple too. Fry the onion for a couple minutes and then chuck ALL the rest of the ingredients in. Trust me, when you smell the clove, cinnamon, thyme, brown sugar and anise wafting through the kitchen you will want to bottle it 😉
Bouquet what? A classic herb/spice mixture used when cooking or braising meats for long periods. The method originates in France back in the 1600s. The technique was used so that you could easily fish out the hard herbs and spices that would be used in braising food for longer periods. Things like rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, anise would be tied up in muslin cloth and placed in the braising liquid. Once finished, you can whip out the little back and chuck it in the bin. Imagine trying to scrape through 1.5kg of braised red cabbage and pick out a clove – NO THANK YOU!
WHAT CAN YOU EAT WITH SPICED RED CABBAGE
Aside from it being so DAMN tasty, this is what I LOVE about spiced red cabbage, its versatility. You can eat it with so many dishes. I’ve had it with sausages and mash, alongside a beautiful piece of medium-rare duck, with chicken or turkey for Christmas, alongside some delicious Riverview Farms Hot Roast Pork, the list goes on. My advice is to bookmark the recipe, head to your local store and grab a cabbage, and get braising!
CAN YOU FREEZE BRAISED RED CABBAGE
Sure, can! Cool it in the fridge, portion it up into whatever sizes you want, and place it either in a ziplock bag or an airtight container, label/date it, and into the freezer it goes. You may think to stick a label on it sounds a bit anal, but believe me when I say things can EASILY get lost or forgotten about in the freezer. As good as freezers are a wonderful thing but there is only so long that food stays at its “best” in the freezer.
REHEATING SPICED RED CABBAGE
You have 2 choices with this one. Option A is a quick and easy microwave. It’s fast, easy to do, and if you have a lid on the red cabbage, the steam will help keep the moisture levels up. Just make sure you give it a stir and reheat again so that it’s all evenly heated. Option 2 is into a pan. If you were smart enough to leave a little extra braising liquid, you could reheat it using that on low heat. Or, add a splash of water and warm it in a pot/pan. The disadvantage of the water is it will guess what…… water down the flavours so don’t add too much!
ALTERNATIVE SIDE DISHES
Here are a few sides that work great alongside my spiced red cabbage recipe and/or as part of a large feed for Christmas in July (or December!!)
Grilled Asparagus w/ Pistachio Dukkah by Yours Truly
Pumpkin, Cranberry & Almond Salad by Alexandra Cook of ‘It’s Not Complicated Recipes’
Sumac Roasted Pumpkin by Yours Truly
Spiced Roasted Parsnips by Robyn Jones of ‘Mrs. Jones Kitchen’
Brown Butter Sweet Potatoes by Yours Truly
Crunchy Roast Potatoes w/ Garlic & Rosemary by Marcella Cantatore of ‘Marcellina In Cucina’
Christmas Pudding Ice-Cream by Sarah Brooks of ‘Keep Calm And Eat Ice-Cream’ – because the dessert is JUST as important!!
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 1 red cabbage approx. 1.5kg – sliced thinly
- 300 ml red wine
- 1 onion peeled & sliced thinly
- 2 apple peeled & diced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 100 ml balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 50 g brown sugar
- 50 g butter
- Make a bouquet garni with the thyme, clove, cinnamon & anise *see tips*
- In a large saucepan fry the onion on medium heat with the butter for 2-3 mins until softened
- Add remaining ingredients and the bouquet garni, cover and leave to simmer gently forn approximately 2hrs. Stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick/burn but you and pretty much leave it alone until near the end
- chef knives
- chopping board
- large saucepan
- measuring utensils
- wooden spoon
- a bouquet garni is when you wrap herbs/spices in muslin cloth and place it in with the food you are cooking. It allows the aromatics to add flavour to the dish and the ability to remove them easily from the dish so you aren’t fishing out cloves.
- the red cabbage does take time to make but it’s something that can be easily made in advance and reheated easily.