Lunchbox: Braised Purple Cabbage

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It’s true. Everything grown by the CSA is just better.* Take the purple cabbage.

While I don’t hate the purple cabbage, I am somewhat ambivalent about it. I like the German-style sweet and sour cabbage served with pork, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it.

Except that I got one in the CSA. And since I can’t put another thing in my fridge with all of the root veg, I thought perhaps using one of the biggest ones would help open up some room.

M had told me that C had made some incredible braised cabbage a few weeks ago. So I thought I’d give it a try. I found Robin Miller’s Dad’s Red Cabbage Recipe and made it before I left for work this morning. On the mornings I don’t work out, you’re likely to find me up before dawn cooking. It nourishes me as much as a workout but in a different way. There is something so peaceful and soothing about cooking in the dark, pre-dawn hours of a winter day, soft music on in the background, delicious aromas coming from the stove.

Here’s how I made it (adapted from Robin’s recipe):

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 c thinly sliced red onion
1/4 c thinly sliced shallots
2 Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 head shredded purple cabbage – she calls for 20 oz. I didn’t weigh it, but it was all that would fit in my pot
1 cup red wine – she calls for dry, but I used whatever was open in the fridge
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground saigon cinnamon (from Market Spice – Exquisite!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small potato, peeled and grated – I skipped this

Directions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and apples and saute 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Add shredded cabbage, wine, water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add grated potato and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, until mixture thickens and potato is tender, stirring frequently.

In a word, this is incredible. I cooked the cabbage down just until it had a slight crunch left. The onions, wine, apples, sugar and spice blended into a savory-sweet combination that echoed cinnamon applesauce mixed with a fruit-forward red wine. It is vegan autumn comfort food in a Le Cruset.

*except for the turnips. There is nothing that can fix the turnip.

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