Braised Red Cabbage with Red Onion, Apples and Balsamic
I’m happy to finally share the recipe for one of my favorite side dishes, braised red cabbage with apples. It’s a delicious, slow-cooked mix of red cabbage, red onions, balsamic vinegar and paper thin apples.
I think I got hooked on braised red cabbage back in college after dining at Houston’s in Atlanta. Has anyone tried their braised red cabbage? It’s awesome! Over the years I’ve prepared it at home here and there but last fall I created this variation with apples that we can’t get enough of and I’ve been making it at least once a month. I’m always looking for new vegetables to add to the rotation so this has been a welcome one!
From a health perspective, red cabbage is packed with nutrients and just a one cup serving of cooked red cabbage delivers 79% of your daily vitamin K, 69% of your daily vitamin C (crazy right!?), 20% of daily B6 and 17% of daily manganese. It’s also high in fiber and just one cup cooked contains 16% of your daily fiber needs. (Source)
The ingredients list is super short. All you need is a head of red cabbage, a red onion, an apple, balsamic vinegar and coconut oil. (Side note: we love our giant vat of coconut oil.)
The first step (and probably the most time consuming part of this whole recipe) is thinly slicing the cabbage, onion and apples. I think that red cabbage is so beautiful when it’s shredded.
The apples and onions go into a large skillet (that has a lid) with the coconut oil.
And then the cabbage goes in.
I sauté everything uncovered until it’s mixed together well and just starting to soften. Then it’s time to add the liquids (balsamic vinegar and chicken stock or water) before reducing the heat, covering the skillet and letting the cabbage do its slow braise. The low heat and slow cooking is key. You have to leave it alone and just give it a stir every 15 minutes or so while the braising magic happens.
The result about 45-60 minutes later is a big pan of tender, melt in your mouth red cabbage with a perfect balance of tart and sweet thanks to the vinegar and apples. Many braised red cabbage recipes call for sugar but I find that the mixture of the apples and the reduced vinegar give it all the sweet flavor it needs.
It’s a wonderful side dish to go alongside everything from pork to chicken to salmon. I’ve also served it to dinner guests several times and everyone always raves over it. The full recipe makes a generous amount and the leftovers are amazing!
This isn’t a “quick” weeknight side dish but definitely simple and something you could prepare ahead of time (like if you do Sunday food prep) to enjoy all week long. Give it a try!
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
(Recipe developed by Jen DeCurtins)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (can sub olive or vegetable oil if desired)
1 head red cabbage, sliced thinly/shredded
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 apple (gala, fuji, pink lady, etc), sliced thinly
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth or water
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet that has a cover, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add apples and onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shredded cabbage and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the balsamic and then the chicken broth or water. Reduce heat to low (very low, like a 1-2 on the dial) and cover. Continue to cook, stirring every 10-15 minutes or so, until softened. Resist the urge to turn up the heat to shorten the cooking time. The mixture will burn to the bottom of the pot easily if you do so. Start checking for doneness around 45 minutes but it may take up to an hour.
Yield: 6-8 servings
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