Sunday, 7 May 2017

Recipe: Braised Red Cabbage and Christmas Cranberry Sauce

Yes, I am well aware that summer is almost upon us and that Christmas food is the last thing I should be pushing on you at this time of year. BUT, I have been meaning to share some of my festive food recipes for a long time and this lot is way too good to be forgotten. I'm just leaving all this spicy, boozy, wintry grub right here to be bookmarked for a cosier, more festive time...

It took me a while to get braised red cabbage *just* right. As soon as I started researching recipes and thinking back to experiences of bitter or soggy or over-sweet piles of the stuff, I realised how important this side dish is! The result of my search for the perfect red cabbage recipe was actually making a creation of my own, following an almost universal theory on the various elements which might go into braising this beautiful beast, and using a combination of ingredients that I tweaked and agonised over along the way. This one is heavy on the Christmas spices but, why not?! It made the kitchen smell HEAVENLY. A side note for the wannabe domestic goddesses out there: I made this is advance, cooled the whole batch and kept it in the fridge to be reheated on the hob on Christmas Day. We served this as one of the veg with roast turkey and again as a side dish with a gorgeous sticky festive pulled ham and roast potatoes on Boxing Day.

The cranberry sauce I made at Christmas was my first attempt at making it myself and it went down a storm, so it was well worth the effort (and by effort I mean chucking it together one morning before breakfast, leaving it to simmer away, then cooling and keeping it in the fridge until we needed it). This makes a big bowl and looks incredibly pretty spooned over all roasted and cold meats during the festive season.

Braised Red Cabbage


50g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
Few juniper berries
Star anise
One quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves
One quarter of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 red cabbage, cored and chopped
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cranberry sauce (see recipe below)

What to do:

1. Melt the butter and soften the onion over a medium heat for a few minutes, then stir in the spices and cook for a minute more.

2. Add the cabbage to the pan and saute until shining and well coated with the butter. Add the sugar and vinegar, reduce the heat to low, stir well, and then cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring now and again.

3. Stir in the cranberry sauce and cook for another 25 minutes. Season well and stir through a knob of butter before serving - or when reheating on the hob in my case.

Cranberry Sauce


300ml red wine
100ml port
100g caster sugar
1 star anise
2 cloves
500g fresh cranberries
Freshly squeezed orange juice, or water, if required

What to do:

Put the wine, port, sugar and spices into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about two thirds. Add the cranberries and continue to bubble away until they start getting "jammy" - sticky and softly squashing. If the sauce is too thick or boozy, add a few spoonfuls of orange juice or water and stir. Serve warm or cold. You can make the sauce up to one week ahead and keep it covered in the fridge.

Now, back to enjoying your BBQs...!  

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