I'm having a bit of a cook-up this morning, finishing up what's in the fridge, and getting ahead for the busy days to come. One of the things I am making is a good supply of braised red cabbage for the freezer. I'm making it plain, so that I can change the flavourings when I come to reheat it. At that point I might add apples, or redcurrant jelly, or quince jelly, or lots of onions, or spices - say, cloves, star anise, cinnamon.
Braised red cabbage
Shred one red cabbage. I used the slicing blade on my Magimix for an instant result, but I have done it with a knife in the past, it doesn't take long. Put it in a large shallow pan with a close-fitting lid. Add wine vinegar and water in the ratio 1:2, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan - don't go mad here, better to put in too little and have to add to it, otherwise you'll have to boil off the excess liquid. Sprinkle on sugar and salt, in the ratio 2:1. Don't worry too much about the exact amounts, you'll be able to correct the seasonings when you reheat the cabbage. Mix well. Cover, and cook very slowly on a low heat ... start checking after 30-40 minutes, but it might well take over an hour.
When it's cool, decant into freezer containers, label, and freeze. I would aim to put one cabbage into four containers, and mark it accordingly (1/4 large red cabbage, etc). It might mean thawing two at once, but there's more flexibility, and, anyway, smaller containers are easier to thaw.
Thaw in the fridge, ie slowly. Tip the cabbage into a saucepan or lidded casserole, and add your chosen seasoning - about a tablespoon of jelly or a couple of cloves per quarter of cabbage, but you need to start tasting once it gets warm. You'll almost certainly find there's plenty of liquid in the bottom of the pan, but, if not, add a little water, perhaps some vinegar. Reheat gently, either over a low heat or in the oven with your main course. Either way, it needs about half an hour.
This is a really useful dish to have in the freezer for the winter holidays - it goes so well with wintery dishes such as roast meat, stews, bean casseroles. We eat red cabbage in quite small quantities, so never manage to eat a whole one in one week, even if it is the smallest one in the shop. The "other half" used to moulder away in the bottom of my fridge, reproaching me, until I realised how well red cabbage freezes. I always do this now.
I'm sending this to Michelle at The Accidental Scientist for this month's Heart of the Matter - holiday food. It's not the most exciting holiday dish, but it is a treat of sorts - a treat for the cook, who knows it's one more chore done, if that doesn't sound too organised.
Heart of the Matter, for those of you that haven't found it yet, is a website for heart-healthy recipes, built up month by month ... the kind of resource I wish had been around after my husband had a heart attack. Anyone can contribute - this month the theme is holiday food.
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