Red cabbage frequently ends up in my CSA box this time of year Of course it features prominently in slaws and soups, and makes a good bed for nestling roasts or sausages, but what else? Lately I'm trying sautés. Red cabbage has a really earthy flavor that can go sweet or sour and cooks up easily in a sauté pan, if shredded.
Red cabbage is healthy, a member of the brassica family, it's cholesterol lowering and perhaps surprisingly the health benefits are greater in cooked cabbage than in raw. If you've ever wondered what makes red cabbage red, it's anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol which is a pigment and is also responsible for the red in cranberries. The amount of Vitamin C is 6 times greater in red cabbage than green cabbage. It's extremely high in Vitamin K too.
This recipe came about because I had about a half of a head of cabbage, a bit of fennel and some cranberries I wanted to use. The bright and bitter flavors of the dish with just an edge of sweetness complement something rich like pork, sausages, goose or duck. I like the cabbage to still have a bit of crunch, but if you want it softer, just cook it longer with the lid on.
Note: The amount of sugar you need in this recipe depends on the sweetness of the vegetables and how sweet the wine is. You might start with a tablespoon and add more only if you need it. If you'd rather not add sugar at all, I'd recommend using dried cranberries which are already sweetened.
Red Cabbage, Fennel & Cranberries
1 Tablespoon vegetable or rice bran oil
1 cup sliced onion (half moons)
1 cup sliced fennel bulb
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup cranberries
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine
Heat a large skillet and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent but not brown. Add the cabbage and sauté for another 3 minutes or until glossy and beginning to reduce in volume. Add the cranberries, salt, brown sugar, broth and wine. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid evaporates. Taste for seasoning and serve.