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Monday, April 19, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: Week 22, Red

Recipe: Must-try red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar
From: Cook with Jamie

It's week 22 of the Cookbook Challenge and the theme is "red". I had a ton of ideas for red week, but I got a bit caught up in piezzas (that's a pie/pizza hybrid for those uneducated in the way of the piezza) and opted for an easy recipe.

Red cabbage braised with apple, bacon & balsamic vinegar

I seem to like a lot of vegetables that other people deem boring - eg broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and the ever so humble cabbage. I like cabbage both raw and cooked, so when I saw this red cabbage recipe AND it was titled "must-try" I naturally had to try it!

The cabbage is braised with bacon, apples and balsamic vinegar. The original recipe used a whole head of red cabbage. Now, I know I said I like cabbage, but a whole head of cabbage would mean NOTHING but cabbage for a week. So I only used half a head of cabbage, but I kept the bacon and apple quantities about the same - because you can never get enough bacon, right? At the end of the cooking time, I tasted the cabbage - Jamie's book describes it as a "gorgeously sticky-sweet cabbage dish that you'll want to eat immediately". It was tangy and vinegary, but didn't really enthuse me, but since we weren't going to be eating it that night I popped it into the fridge.

Red cabbage braised with apple, bacon & balsamic vinegar

It sat in the fridge for two days, and we ate it last night with piezzas left over from the pizza party. In those two days, the flavour improved and I found it much more exciting than on the night I had made it. I was also glad I hadn't halved the quantity of bacon because the bits of salty bacon were GREAT amongst the sharp tanginess of the cabbage.

So the verdict? I think it is a must try recipe, but only if you can leave it for at least a day!

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Update: see the round up at My Food Trail.

Red cabbage braised with apple, bacon & balsamic vinegar

Recipe: Must-try red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar

Adapted from Cook with Jamie

Serves 4

olive oil
250g bacon, finely sliced
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds, bashed
1 onion, peeled and sliced
3 apples, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1/2 red cabbage, outer leaves & core removed, chopped into irregular chunks
salt and pepper to taste
75ml balsamic vinegar
sugar to taste (if necessary)
a knob of butter
chopped parsley leaves (optional)

Heat some oil in a saucepan until hot, add the bacon and fennel and cook until golden.

Add the onion and cook with the lid on for several minutes until golden and sticky.

Add the apple, cabbage, some salt and pepper and vinegar and stir well. Put the lid on and cook on a low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste the cabbage - you may want to add some sugar if it's too vinegary.

Scoop into a serving dish, place butter on top and garnish with the parsley.

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