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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Beaujolais-Braised Cabbage with Cranberries


This slow-cooked, sweet and sour cabbage has such a silky texture. Red wine and cranberries add a tart and fruity flavor, which is balanced by a touch of honey and a splash of vinegar. This dish is especially festive during the holidays.

To braise the cabbage I used Beaujolais Nouveau, the young French wine released every year in late November. Beaujolais Nouveau isn't a wine to tuck away in the cellar, it's meant to be enjoyed within the year after its release, before the next year's vintage becomes available. It's a good fit for this dish because it's inexpensive, fruity, and dry. You just need a cup for of wine for this dish, so serve the rest of the bottle with the meal. If you can't find Beaujolais Nouveau, pick another fruity, dry red wine. If you prefer not to use wine, substitute bone broth or vegetable broth.

This recipe calls for dried cranberries, and I always advise my patients to buy dried fruit unsweetened. But when it comes to cranberries, it's almost impossible. So in that case, if you only have sweetened dried cranberries, they will be the sweet part of this dish and you can omit the honey. As an alternative to dried cranberries, you could stir in some home-made cranberry sauce instead.

4 slices bacon, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Beaujolais Nouveau or other dry, fruity red wine
1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn 1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced, about 8 heaping cups
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Chopped raw pecans for garnish (optional)
  1.  Add the bacon to a medium Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until the fat starts to render. Add the onion and continue cooking until it softens and starts to brown. 
  2. Add the salt, pepper, cranberries, and red wine. Stir and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Add the cabbage to the pot but do not stir. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook for ten minutes to soften the cabbage. 
  4. Toss the cabbage with the rest of the ingredients, replace the cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage develops a soft and silky texture, about an hour. 
  5. Stir in the parsley, then transfer the cabbage to a serving dish and pour any juices over the top. Garnish with dried cranberries, raw pecans, and more parsley. Serve immediately.

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