Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon and Apple
This cabbage recipe is actually my Dad’s speciality. For some reason, he is never overly confident with taking the lead in the kitchen, despite being a great cook, and always assumes the role of the invaluable sous chef, happy to tackle a mountain of chopping or washing up for that matter. On the hand, there are a few recipes that he’s really comfortable cooking and that have become his signature dishes.
This dish is one that my Dad always volunteers to make and one that everyone always absolutely loves. I love the mixture of sweet apple, savoury bacon, sour vinegar and delicious red cabbage and this has become one of my all time favourite dishes. It’s fantastic with a Sunday roast on a cold winter’s day, or with a spiced lamb and apricot stew or even served cold with grilled meat on a hot summer day.
1 small red cabbage
225g or 8 oz bacon
55g or 2 oz butter
2 large onions, peeled
4 dessert apples
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
The bacon needs to be cut into one inch pieces and fried until crisp in a little of the butter and then set aside on a plate. You also need slice the onions thinly and cook them gently until pale golden in a little more of the butter and again, set these aside.
Core and slice the apple. If you’re slicing the apples ahead of time, keep them in acidulated water (cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice) to stop them from turning brown. Remove the outside leaves and core from the cabbage and then finely slice it.
In our house, we always cook this recipe in the microwave. Personally, I have a slight suspicion and hatred of cooking anything in the microwave but this cabbage dish does come out fantastically every time. If you’re feeling like a bit of seventies nostalgia and you want to use the microwave too, then you need to use a microwavable dish with a lid to cook the cabbage in. If you share my prejudice against microwave cookery, it can also be cooked easily in a strong saucepan. Place layers of cabbage, apple, onion and bacon, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, a little sugar and vinegar.
Once you have everything layered up, pour over a teacup of boiling water and top with a final layer of sugar and a few knobs of butter. If you are using the microwave, cover the dish and cook it on medium for ten minutes, give everything a stir, then cook for a further ten, stir again and then give it a final five minutes of cooking time. If you are using the stove, cover and gently simmer for about forty five minutes.