… glossily red and purpled, subtly spiced and aromatic red cabbage……I love it.
It is perfect with fattier meats like pork or lamb as the sharpness of the red wine vinegar that is in there cuts through the richness. Apple sweetens it and the onion gives it savour.
Adding aromatic spices gives it a depth of flavour
You’ll need nutmeg, cloves and garlic.
First of all, you need to start cutting the cabbage. Cut out the hard core with a sharp knife – it is hard and white and solid… which is not what you want in amongst your lovely bits of shredded red cabbage
Then slice the rest into thin strips. You’ll also need to slice the onion.
Rub a bit of butter round an oven proof dish and put half of the cabbage in and add the onion
Next, peel and chop the apple
and scatter that on top of the cabbage and onion
… and then grate a light covering of nutmeg over the top
Now shake cinnamon over it. I love the smell of cinnamon – it’s perfect at this time of year.
Cloves go wonderfully well with all of this. You can buy ground cloves but it is much better just to grind them yourself and anyway, why would you want to buy an extra bottle of something that will take up space in your cupboard? Put a few cloves into a pestle and grind it. A word of warning though, my brother adores this red cabbage and once rang me up so I could tell him what to do. Well, put on the spot as I was, I rattled off a list of ingredients and, as normal, wasn’t much good at remembering exact quantities. That’s why I show you by taking a picture….anyway, my brother was merrily sprinkling the cloves… sprinkling and sprinkling…….. made it all taste like a dentist’s mouthwash, he said. So, be careful. It will maybe amount to less than a teaspoonsful.
A light dusting is all you need.. you are building up layers of aromatic spices. Sprinkle some sugar over the top and then.. the secret ingredient. Martini Rosso. Obviously not so secret now………
I first did it, not with Martini Rosso, but with Dubonnet… I thought the herby red spirit would blend well with the vegetables and the spices. I also had a bottle that I hadn’t drunk and I thought I could start to use it up. Once the Dubonnet had gone I moved on to Martini… and that, I think is even better. Pour some over
then pour some red wine vinegar in as well. This sharpens everything up and keeps the colour a deep purply red.
Put some little knobs of butter over the top and sprinkle more sugar
Then put the rest of the red cabbage over the top
Cover it with foil and put it in the middle of the oven at about 160 degrees C. This is going to take maybe two hours or so, so if you are going to cook something else, that’s fine. If the oven needs to be on higher, just move it down to the bottom of the oven and make sure the foil top is on so it doesn’t burn or all the moisture evaporate
After about an hour or so, look at it… give it a stir. It looks pretty awful till you stir it and see the gorgeous deep colour underneath
What I should have done, of course, was to take it out of the oven dish and make it look attractive. But I didn’t.
Tasted great though… you’ll just have to trust me that it looks better than that!