Braised red cabbage, a favourite side dish, particularly around Christmas. A Winter dish flavoured with apple, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and sweetened with crab apple jelly.
Braised red cabbage is a great side dish and one that is perfect at this time of year. The combination of spices, the sweet crab apple jelly and the sharpness of red wine vinegar, make it ideal for serving alongside rich roasted meats. Braised red cabbage adds a sharp contrast to often butter laden vegetable sides we serve with our Christmas or Sunday roasts. This spiced red cabbage dish works well with a number of dishes. However, it goes beautifully with pork, chicken, duck and is particularly good with Christmas turkey or goose.
Are there are other spices I can use?
Cinnamon, clove and star anise are the spices we have used here, however some grated nutmeg could also be added. If there is a spice you don’t like, then simply leave it out. The important thing is to ensure the spicing is light, don’t be heavy handed with the spices. The amounts suggested in the recipe below are quite sufficient to add a balance of spice to the dish.
Substitutes for crab apple jelly:
We have used crab apple jelly as I always have either that or apple jelly in my store cupboard at home. I always make my own Apple Jelly and am lucky enough to have a friend who always gifts me her wonderful crab apple jelly. However bramble jelly, blackcurrant jelly or cranberry jelly would also work really well in the dish. What you are looking for is a jelly that will add a fruity sweetness to the dish, without making is sickly sweet.
Can I freeze braised red cabbage?
Braised red cabbage freezes very easily which makes it a great make ahead dish. I love serving red cabbage on Christmas day, however we all have too much to do on the day itself. I usually make a batch of spiced red cabbage around November/early December. I freeze it into 2 batches, one for Christmas day and one for Boxing day leftovers. Simply remove from the freezer and allow to defrost thoroughly overnight in the fridge. Then when ready to eat, place in a pan and if necessary add a little more water if the mixture is looking dry.
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Alternative recipe suggestions:
If you like this recipe then try our other great side dishes, our Creamed Brussel Sprouts or our Savoy Cabbage with Bacon & Cider. It works as a great accompaniment to our Crispy Roast Pork Belly or our Pork Fillet wrapped in Bacon.
Braised Red Cabbage
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 1 large onion - sliced
- 2 large Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 kg red cabbage - finely shredded
- 50 ml red wine vinegar
- 100 ml cold water
- 5 cm cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 star anise
- 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 4 tbsp crab apple jelly
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and saute for 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the apple and cabbage to the pan and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and heat until the liquid starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.
- Simmer gently for about 1 hour on the stove top, until the red cabbage has softened. If the cabbage is looking a little dry after 45 minutes, give it a stir and add a little water to allow it to continue cooking.
- Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise before serving.
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