As a child I always loved my mum’s red cabbage with apples. It brings memories of warm and homely family dinners during dark and cold days. I think we usually had it with sausages and mash, like proper comfort food. I still love it, but it is only a few years ago now that I wanted to make it myself for the first time. I realised I didn’t have a clue how to go about it!
Until, that was, I had the brilliant idea to try to make some when my mum was over for a visit, so I could ask her for her recipe. Of course, as it goes with mums, I watched and tasted, she did the cooking… The kids had never had red cabbage in this way before and they absolutely loved it. Great! Now it wasn’t just for me and my husband, so I was even more encouraged to make it myself once in a while.
In the UK red cabbage is in season in November and December. There will be plenty in the supermarkets soon, but you will also find them on the farmers markets again. Apples, the other main ingredient, are available in abundance as well at the moment and so is beetroot. This recipe couldn’t be more seasonal!
For me this is good way to use some of the big box of apples we brought from Belgium last week. The beetroot can simply be picked from the veggie patch still, if allowed by my youngest, who is responsible for the beetroot!
I have adapted my mum’s recipe slightly by replacing her red currant jelly by grated beetroot. The main reason she added the jelly was for the bright colour, the sugar is nice but not necessary. So I replaced this by beetroot which is even stronger at adding some pretty colour. It also adds lots of nutrients and no sugar, or at least no refined sugar. When I was grating my beetroot earlier and tasting, I suddenly found it very sweet tasting actually. 1 kg of apples also adds a lot of sweetness, so this red cabbage with apples and beetroot turns out a lovely sweet but healthy dish.
Red cabbage contains lots of water, fibre vitamines and minerals. Just as beetroot, is red cabbage also rich in antioxidants as the colour might give away. The high water and fibre content make it to be a good option for who is thinking about their weight. If you are, you might want to leave the lardons out. That way, this recipe becomes 100% healthy. I prefer to keep them in as it is closer to the original recipe and it is only a little bit naughty for some extra flavour!
Now serve this red cabbage with apples and beetroot with your favourite comfort food. It works great with mash and sausages, but it would also work with any roast dinner. Even a well seasoned and filling veggie burger , like this one, would be good with it for a healthier option. Leave out the harissa in that case though.
Red Cabbage with Apples and Beetroot
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 2 to 2.5 kg||Total:|
Easy to do, but you need some time on your hands
- 1 red cabbage
- 1 kg apples
- 1 tbsp clear malt vinegar
- 2 shallots
- 100 gram lardons (optional)
- 2 small or 1 big beetroot
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the cabbage in pieces, for example start with strips and cut those further in 3 or 4 pieces.
- Cur the shallots in pieces, not too small.
- Peel the beetroot if necessary and grate coarsely.
- Fry the lardons, if using.
- To speed up the cooking, you can briefly boil (about 5 minutes) the cabbage before you braise it. It is also said to help the digestion.
- Warm up the olive oil in a big pot and cook the shallot until soft and translucent.
- Add the shredded red cabbage, the vinegar and some water.
- Bring to boil, cover and leave to simmer with regular stirring. Keep an eye on the water at the bottom, you want it to stay wet all the time, add some if necessary. Make sure you have a few centimeters of water.
- When the cabbage is nearly soft enough, add the apples, the grated beetroot and the lardons.
- Leave to simmer further until all is soft and cooked through.
- Now taste and season with the nutmeg and some brown sugar if you would find it necessary.
- Enjoy and freeze or share some because one cabbage is enough for at least 3 family meals in our house.
from More Than Just Carrots