Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Red cabbage

While I was fussing over the braised belly pork and the lentils, some red cabbage was maturing uncomplicatedly in the oven.

Red cabbage goes well with acidic things, in part because the flavours complement it, and in part because the acid preserves, even heightens, the purply red colour.

I have a ceramic oven dish that will also go on the hob. I put it on a gentle flame, poured in about a tbsp of groundnut oil, and softened a chopped onion. Meanwhile, I chopped half a small cabbage and an apple, turning the apple pieces in the juice of half a lemon -- it stops them going brown. When the onion was soft, I added the cabbage and the apple with its juice, half a tbsp of caraway seeds, a star anise, a little salt and a sprinkling of vinegar, and stirred everything up. I covered the dish with foil, and put it in a gas mark 2/150 C oven for an hour and a half. All I had to do was to check after about 45 minutes to make sure that the dish was progressing nicely.

My ceramic dish is quite thick, and does not cook things quickly. The cabbage retained a satisfying crunch. It was quite sharp -- possibly too sharp for some tastes. I might have put the chopped apples into acidulated water, draining them of liquid before adding them to the cabbage and onion; or I might have left out the vinegar.


Anonymous said...

that's one of the things I never bother with - putting apple into lemon juice before putting it into red cabbage. I take the view that it will turn red anyway whilst being cooked for an hour so I can't believe a bit of browness first will matter..

But I add vinegar and in fact brown sugar too to the red cabbage.

Nicholas Clee said...

Good point. I probably fear that discolouration implies that the fruit is degrading.

I like the sweet and sour idea.