BRAISED RED CABBAGE
by Renee Behnke and Cynthia Nims
My grandmother often made red cabbage in a similar preparation to this. The memory of the sweet and tart flavors on fall evenings reminds me of all the meals I was able to share with her. I rinse the cabbage in cold water as soon as I've sliced it, then shake away the excess water. This refreshes the cabbage and just enough water clings to it to help it wilt as it cooks.
Choose apples for this recipe that will hold together during cooking, preferably not-too-sweet apples that will complement the savory flavors of the dish. I find FUJI or Braeburn apples work well.
Makes 8 Servings
• 6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 1 (2-pound) head red cabbage, cored, thinly sliced, and rinsed with cold water
• 1 Fuji or Braeburn apple, cored, peeled, and diced
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1½ teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the butter to the skillet and, when it has melted, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender and aromatic (the onion shouldn't brown; decrease the heat to medium-low if needed).
2. Shake excess water from the cabbage and add to the skillet, a couple of handfuls at a time. Stirring frequently, allow each addition to cook down for 1 minute or so to make room before adding the next. Stir in the apple, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, salt, thyme, and pepper. Cover the skillet loosely with its lid or a piece of foil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until the cabbage is tender.
3. Spoon the braised cabbage onto individual plates and sprinkle with the bacon.
Do-Ahead Tip: The cabbage can be cooked up to i day in advance and reheated gently on the stovetop Just before serving.