Braised Red Cabbage – a classic Christmas side dish
No Christmas dinner is complete for me without a dish of steaming braised red cabbage. Slow cook it with an apple and some spices and you transform the humble red cabbage into a dish fit for a king.
Bach is famous for his Goldberg Variations. My braised red cabbage may not be a work of genius, but like Meister Bach’s work, it’s slightly different each time I make it. I vary the spices and other additions as I see fit. The result is always delicious and it’s one of my favourite winter vegetable side dishes. The recipe I’ve given here includes the classic accompaniment juniper berries, but also bay leaves and black pepper, all available as Schwartz spices.
For those who didn’t know, I include myself in that number, Schwartz is not a German company; it was founded in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1889 by William Schwartz. At that time it was near impossible to buy pure spices, they were frequently adulterated with all sorts of other materials. William was not happy with this state of affairs and spent his time peddling his pure spices whilst pedalling his bicycle around Nova Scotia.
Braised Red Cabbage
To keep the purple braised red cabbage theme going, I’ve used red onions instead of normal ones in this recipe. I also substituted my homemade blackcurrant vinegar for the apple cider vinegar I normally add. I’m aware that’s a pretty specialised ingredient, so I’ve stated apple cider vinegar in the recipe.
To fry the onions, I’ve gone with coconut oil as I like to get healthy ingredients in where I can. But please use rapeseed or sunflower oil if you prefer. The apple was one from my mother’s garden, which along with the red cabbage grown in Cornwall gives this dish a distinctive Cornish identity.
Talking of healthy ingredients, red cabbage is highly regarded for its beneficial properties. It’s a phytonutrient treasure trove with masses of vitamins, flavanoids and sulphur compounds. Who needs pills when you can eat this stuff.
CT got home from work and collapsed in a chair. He perked up no end, however, when he heard braised red cabbage was on the menu. It would have been a perfect accompaniment to the lentil and Brazil nut roast I made at the weekend. But it’s also very nice with baked potatoes, which is how we had it that evening.
It should be cooked through, but still have a bit of bite to it. Leave it too long and it becomes mushy and loses its lustre. Done properly, like this, it’s sweet, almost fruity and has a slight sourness which all marries together remarkably well. “This stuff”, CT told me, “is decidedly moreish”.
Braised red cabbage makes a wonderful accompaniment to any festive winter meal. You can prepare it well ahead of time and in fact, it generally becomes more delicious the longer you leave it to marinade.
Other Winter Sides You Might Like
- Carrot and swede mash
- Cocoa & paprika roasted cauliflower
- How to cook the perfect Brussels sprouts
- Rosemary chips
- Stir-fried Brussels sprouts
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this recipe for braised red cabbage, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like to see some more Christmas recipes, I have quite a few of them.
Braised Red Cabbage. PIN IT.
Braised Red Cabbage
Braised Red Cabbage
- 2 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
- 1 large red onion - thinly sliced
- 1 large cooking apple - peeled, cored and sliced
- 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar
- ½ large red cabbage - cored and sliced
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar. (I used my homemade blackcurrant vinegar)
- 6 juniper berries - roughly crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 25 g sultanas
- ground black pepper
- pinch sea salt flakes
- Fry the onions in the oil in a large pan over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the apples and stir.
- Add the sugar, stir and fry for a minute.
- Add the cabbage, vinegar, bay leaves, juniper berries and sultanas. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 40 minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper, stir and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
I’m sending this braised red cabbage off to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for Extra Veg. One of the great thing about Christmas is all those extra vegetables you get to eat and this is one of them. The challenge comes from Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and Michele over at Utterly Scrummy.
This also goes to Cook Once Eat Twice with Corina over at Searching for Spice. We’ve already had several meals out of this cabbage and it seems the longer it’s left the better it gets.
And as this braised red cabbage is for me, very much a Christmas classic, I’m sending it off to #FoodYearLinkUp at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.
Disclosure: Schwartz commissioned this post. However, all words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for your support of the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.