Friday, 5 September 2008
I have to admit that I’m generally not a lover of cabbage, however, there is one exception and that’s red cabbage.
Red cabbage differs from all other types in that rather than being cooked quickly so that it doesn’t go limp and smelly and lose their flavour (remember those old school dinners?), the red variety can be cooked slowly and with it’s lovely sweet flavour makes a perfect accompaniment to all sorts of meats but is especially nice served alongside poultry and pork.
One of the really good things about red cabbage is that they last ages in the cupboard - longer than their white cousins - so although they’re a relatively large vegetable, especially for those who are living alone or as a couple, they’ll still get used up before they go off. Mine usually last for about 2 weeks in the cupboard although they do keep longer in the fridge but I’ve found the taste isn’t quite as good then.
Red cabbage has the highest vitamin C content of all cabbages and also contains more iron, potassium and calcium than any other type. It’s also low in calories - about 30 calories per 100g portion - and it contains plenty of fibre too. How can you go wrong?
Apart from shredded raw in salads, it’s probably best know when used in sauerkraut, or pickled red cabbage, but there are plenty of other ways of preparing it. It can be used in coleslaw, boiled plain, sautéed, braised or used in casseroles. In fact, when it comes to casseroles, it‘s the only cabbage worth using. And because, when prepared, they don't look like your typical cabbage, fussy children who say they don't like cabbage will often eat them anyway.
Thanks to their long growing season, British red cabbages are available throughout most of the year and are always a popular choice at Christmas (beat those disgusting Brussel sprouts, any day!) or as part of a winter side salad. Served as a warm side vegetable, it brings colour to the plate, something I always feel makes a meal look more appetizing.
If you’ve tried the white, pointy or savoy types and not liked them, don’t let that put you off. Red cabbages are different and unless you try one, you just won’t know whether you like it.
Quick Recipe: Red Cabbage & Apple
Half a large red cabbage, finely sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 large apple, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or malt vinegar if that’s all you have)
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
A small handful of currants (optional)
Enough water to just about cover ingredients
Salt & pepper
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Sweat for about 5 minutes while stirring.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes under a lid, stirring occasionally, or until most of the water has evaporated.
Can be served hot or cold and tastes delicious. It can also be made beforehand and chilled or frozen, which is always handy, then reheated by adding a little water to the pan and simmering for about 15 minutes.