Braised Red Cabbage


Side dishes at Christmases are not to be underrated and this braised red cabbage is as comforting as it is colourful and delicious with tanginess from vinegar and sweetness from brown sugar. I recommend making this with a whole cabbage as it's addictively tasty.

'Twas the night before Christmas Eve and Mr NQN and I had just gotten home from buying last minute Christmas ingredients. I originally had bought half a red cabbage in confusion before realising that I absolutely love braised red cabbage and it was good way to feed vegetarian guests who would be missing out on the goose so I bought an extra whole red cabbage. I was about to park the car in the garage and Mr NQN said "Isn't that Queen Viv there driving away?". My dear friend Queen Viv had popped in to do her Santa present drop off and he so flagged her down and she came in for a cup of tea and a present exchange. She picked up the bag with the red cabbage in it and asked what on earth we had in there. It was only a red cabbage but it was heavy enough to masquerade and function as a medicine ball. Also I wanted to make this as Mr NQN has several bottles of red wine on the go at one time and they're cluttering up my kitchen benchtop so I wanted to cull them. I'm ruthless that way.


One thing Nigella didn't quite communicate was how big a pot you will need or how small a cabbage her recipe specifies for this. My largest pot could only fit in half of this cabbage which meant that I had to do it in two lots and I was a bit frustrated juggling the two pots. Whilst this cabbage was quite nice I give this recipe with some additions-most importantly the addition of a vinegar which it needs to give it some acidity and I upped the brown sugar level.

Braised Red Cabbage

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Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours

Serves: 8 as a side dish

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I would have used some of that goose fat but I was feeding vegetarians here)

  • 1 onion, halved and peeled

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 red cabbage about 1.5-1.8kgs/3.3lbs-4lbs

  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1.5 cups/375ml/13flozs red wine

  • 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar (I used a morello cherry vinegar)

  • 1/2 cup/125ml/4flozs orange juice

  • 1/4 teaspoons mixed spice

  • 2  eating apples (Granny Smith will do)

Step 1 - This is best made the day before. Finely shred the cabbage with a food processor or a knife depending on how much washing up you want to do. Peel, core and quarter the apples and chop them into small pieces. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Finely slice the peeled and halved onion into thin half moons and add to the pan with the salt.

Step 2 - Fry gently until the onion is translucent but not caramelised.  Sprinkle over the sugar and add the wine, vinegar, orange juice and mixed spice. Add the apples and cook in low to medium heat until it has wilted down a bit and stir. Cook for two hours and add salt and pepper according to taste.

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