This is a recipe for stove-top braised red cabbage with apples and onions. The cabbage is soft and earthy with nutmeg, and is punctuated by sweetness from apples and browned onions. I consider it to be a perfect compliment to any pork-based dish, and have actually found myself craving it as a stand-alone snack.
It takes about 30 minutes of chopping, sauteing, and active preparation followed by at least an hour of slow cooking, which doesn't require attention beyond stirring every 10-15 minutes. The longer and slower you can cook it, the better it turns out. I've had good success cooking this recipe first thing in the morning, letting it sit in the fridge all day, and then reheating and serving for dinner.
Step 1: Ingredients - Cabbage, Apples, and Onions
1 head of red cabbage
4 apples - shown are fujis; you want something that can stand up to being cooked
200 mL red wine suitable for cooking; I chose Marsala
5 Tbsp brown sugar
5 Tbsp; 75 mL red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tsp allspice
Step 2: Chop Onions
Chop the onions.
Step 3: Saute Onions Until Brown
Caramelize the onions; about 5 minutes at medium heat. I choose to use butter; lard, or olive oil will also work, although I find butter to be the best choice when I want some sweetness from the onions. The images are in order by time, so you can see the degree to which I brown the onions.
Step 4: Chop Apples and Cabbage
While the onions are cooking, chop the apples and cabbage. I remove the white core of the cabbage by quartering it, and then slicing out the four sections of the core.
Step 5: Add Spices
Once the onions are caramelized, stir in the spices.
Step 6: Add Cabbage and Apples
After just a moment, add the cabbage, apples, wine, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir everything together and continue cooking over medium heat until the cabbage is sweating and the liquid at the bottom is simmering.
Step 7: Cook Over Low Heat and Serve
Reduce the heat to low and cover. Let the cabbage cook like this, stirring occasionally until it has sufficiently softened, about an hour. Once soft, adjust to taste. Add more brown sugar if the apples don't provide enough sweetness. If the spices and cabbage don't taste "connected," try adding more butter or other fat; I've used coconut milk successfully. If there isn't enough bite, add more vinegar or salt.