Red cabbage isn’t just a nutrient and mineral dense wonder food, it’s also delicious, versatile, and easy to cook. And winter is when it’s at its best – planted in spring, it’s usually harvested in late fall or winter (hence its enduring popularity as an accompaniment for turkey and other roast meats at Thanksgiving and Christmas).
Red cabbage is super easy to prepare. Simply strip off the outer leaves, wash, then slice into quarters. Cut out the hard central core of each, then chop or shred as required. It can be substituted for green cabbage in most recipes, as the two are actually very similar in flavor and form. Red cabbage's vibrant colour adds a nice pop to many dishes, but beware, this color can seep out, staining all the other ingredients. To guard against this, add a touch of vinegar when cooking red cabbage in water; this stops the deep purple hue from running.
The simplest way to cook red cabbage is to boil it - put the cabbage leaves or shredded cabbage in a large pan and cover halfway with water, bring to the boil, and cook for three to five minutes or until tender. It can also be steamed – around five minutes in a steamer should be sufficient for soft, tender leaves.
Frying or sautéing produces wonderfully soft, flavourful cabbage. Gently fry in some olive or vegetable oil with onion and garlic, then add some vegetable stock. Cook until the cabbage is wilting and tender. But the dish you’re most likely familiar with, the traditional accompaniment to game, pork, turkey, and goose, involves braising.
In a casserole dish, fry some onion in butter, and add finely shredded red cabbage. After five minutes add peeled and sliced apple, some red wine, a little apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of brown sugar. There are numerous other spices you can add too – grated nutmeg, cloves, ground cinnamon, garlic, juniper berries, and caraway seeds are just a few of the variations. And once you’ve added everything to the pan, cover and simmer for around twenty to thirty minutes. The result will be a beautiful, zesty side dish bursting with flavour.
Whole cabbage leaves can be filled, rolled and baked, and shredded cabbage can be pickled or fermented to make kimchi or sauerkraut. Red cabbage is also great added to stir fries, cooked with garlicky pasta, and thrown into any number of winter soups and stews (add near the end, so the cabbage maintains a little bite). It goes best with other strong flavours – mustard, anchovies, red wine, bacon, fennel, spicy sausages like chorizo, and strong cheese such as halloumi. The possibilities are endless!
Naturally, our red cabbage is USDA certified organic, and is sourced from a number of local farmers in the Bay Area. Stick some in your cart, and start perfecting your winter red cabbage dishes today.