Sunday 13 September 2015

Red cabbage with caraway... sweet and sour and ready in under 15 minutes

Not a serving suggestion unless you're a raw food faddist.
This is one of my few original recipes. It was going to be pickled but then I realised I was starting the meal with pickled pears. I Googled a few recipes for inspiration but most took ages and I knew would result in something flavoursome but soft. I wanted bite. This was accompanying my braised short rib which is as tender as you like. I also wanted  to maintain the exquisite colour. That vibrant purple works so well with brown-braised meat.

It works. It met the approval of family tasters and ten guests. I say 'met the approval'; Etien's comment was 'it tastes like cabbage'. But that is what I was after. If you've not had caraway with cabbage I urge you to try it; a great almost-aniseed foil to the earthy brassica.

Sweet and sour red cabbage with caraway.

Serves eight as a side.

Halve a red cabbage and from each remove the triangles of white core. Chop finely into strips, as in the top picture.

In a large shallow pot, or deep frying pan, melt 25g butter over a medium heat. By medium I mean the butter should melt but not brown. Pile in the cut cabbage and turn in the hot butter. You're looking to heat and wilt slightly. You'll need to move it around frequently to avoid catching. This won't take more than ten minutes.

While that's happening, mix 60ml of red wine or cider vinegar with 60g of caster sugar (with the jug on the scales just measure 60g of both). If you have an interesting fruit vinegar then try that. Any berry derivative would work well. Stir well to dissolve. Crush a heaped teaspoon of caraway seeds and the same of pink peppercorns. If you taste now it should be a delicious if weird lemonade.

Pour the sweet vinegar mix over the cabbage and mix well, turning the cabbage over to coat. You'll find the colour changes from a deep glossy purple to a vivid cerise.This will take less than five minutes. Be careful not to burn the cabbage at this stage. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Perhaps squeeze in the juice of that half lemon, almost certainly some sea salt. If you have some good, plump sultanas... be my guest (perhaps rehydrated in apple juice). Who knows what a splash of orange or cranberry juice would do (best added with the sweet and sour mix). Depends very much on your final plate. 

I wanted an al-dente finish but cook for as much as you want. You could even leave it cool at this stage and use instead of coleslaw. I haven't, but I will, try adding a little creme fraiche and some grated beetroot to that end.

Boiled beef and cabbage never looked so good.

No comments :

Post a Comment