JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Red cabbage

Red cabbage seems to be one of those things you either love or hate. My father always has to go out of the house if it's cooking, because he says he can't bear the smell of vinegar (although he likes pickled onions, salt and vinegar crisps - it's funny how particular and precise our palates are). Lucius says it's wasted on him, which is as close as he gets to saying yuck (kind man). Lettice and I both love it. But I often find that I don't get it quite right, particularly if I just do it from memory. This recipe, from Mary Berry's Aga cookbook, is the best, and I thought I would note it down as the cabbage cooks. I always do lots, because it freezes well, and is good when there's a crowd.

Shred one medium red cabbage. Peel, core and chop 6 or 7 eating apples. Put them into a big pan with six tablespoons of water, 40g sugar, and some salt. Stir. Bring to the boil (a matter of seconds), cover, and put in the bottom oven for one hour (ie cook very slowly, on a low flame). When it's cooked, add six tablespoons of vinegar (red wine vinegar is what I usually use), one tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, and a slug of olive oil (MB uses 50g of butter, but I don't, for obvious reasons).

You can eat this straight away, but I find it has a better flavour if you make it ahead and reheat it - I do this slowly in the bottom oven for half an hour or so, but you can do it over a low flame, in which case it needs to be stirred every so often. If you are going to freeze it, then make sure it's completely unfrozen before starting to reheat, otherwise it goes all mushy, and then it's not very good to eat.

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