Braised Red Cabbage With Chestnuts
- Servings: 6 to 8.
There is so much that is wonderful about this recipe. First, red cabbage has a beautiful color that is especially fitting for a holiday table. Next, braising the cabbage makes it tender. And finally, with the combination of sweet yet still acidic Riesling and meaty roasted chestnuts, the cabbage is an Alsatian perfection.
This recipe is adapted from one in Volume No. 5 of Canal House Cooking, which was inspired by one by Elizabeth David as well as a traditional Alsatian way to serve Christmas goose on a bed of braised red cabbage and chestnuts.
While when cooking with wine it's often easy to switch vintages, in this case don't substitute another white wine for the Riesling; its sweetness is key to the flavor success of this recipe. In fact choose a Riesling that's good enough to drink and save a chilled glass of it for the cook.
- 2 tablespoons duck fat, canola oil, or olive oil
- 1 large yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
- Juice of 1 small lemon, or 2 teaspoons
- 1 head red cabbage, cored and sliced into thin strips (a medium head will produce about 8 to 12 cups of sliced cabbage)
- 1 cup Riesling
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed
- 1 14-ounce jar roasted chestnuts
- Melt the fat or heat the oil in a large heavy pot with a cover (a Dutch oven would be good) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Season with about 1-teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Add the bay leaf and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Add the cabbage and Riesling and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and gently simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the apples and chestnuts and stir to mix, being gentle with the chestnuts so to not break them up and keeping them whole. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very tender, about another 30 minutes.
This dish can be made a day in advance and re-heated, or else made the same day as you plan to serve it, up to two hours in advance, keeping it at room temperature and re-heated just before serving.