There are so many delicious parts to a Christmas dinner that its hard to pick out a favourite but braised red cabbage has to be up there. There’s something about the smell of Christmassy spices and the rich flavour of braised cabbage that tells all my senses, its Christmas! Plus, winter cabbages such as red cabbage are a food growers dream as they can be harvested throughout the coldest months and what better way to ease the winter blues with this flavour sensation recipe.
I’ve been making braised red cabbage on Christmas day for years and over time I’ve honed my preferred combination of Christmassy spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and cloves. Feel free to add a bit more of your favourite Christmassy spice or leave out any you don’t like, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.
I used half a small red cabbage which will easily serve 4 – 5 as a side on Christmas day. Use half a large cabbage for 6 or more and if you’ve got the world coming round on Christmas day get yourself a massive saucepan or make sure you have space to have two pans on the go to fit a whole one in. So bear in mind that the recipe below is for half a small red cabbage and that you might want to increase the amount of the rest of the ingredients if you don’t want to lose any of the flavour.
Half a small red cabbage
Half a large onion
A large clove of garlic
One small apple
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of all spice
A good grating of nutmeg
A few cloves
2 tbsp cider vinegar (red or white wine vinegar will do if that’s all you have)
1 tsp soft brown sugar
A good glug of olive oil
1 cup of water
Finely chop up your onion and gentle fry in good sized saucepan until soft.
Meanwhile finely chop the cabbage and peel and finely dice the apple.
Add your crushed or chopped garlic and stir for a minute. Then add the cabbage, apple, spices and sugar and give it a good stir.
Add the cider vinegar followed by another good stir and finally add the water.
Gently cook this, covered on a low heat for at least 1 hour but anywhere up to 3 will only add to the flavour. Keep an eye on it, stirring every now and then and top up with a bit more water if its getting dry. If in doubt about timings get it on early then take it off the heat and reheat it back on the hob 10mins before serving, this will only add to the flavour, see you really can’t go wrong.
This dish really is so easy to veganise by using a bit of oil instead of large amounts of butter usually called for in braised cabbage recipes. The flavours are so full on and delicious that you really don’t miss any flavour from the butter. Really its just senseless cruelty to animals and to the cabbage to use butter and not oil. Go on make sure at least your red cabbage is vegan this year : )