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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts, Apples, and Pancetta

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Cabbage is one of my favorite winter vegetables. From simple coleslaw like they make at Bobcat Bite, to wilted cabbage with onions and garlic, it always tastes great and it cheap and easy. But here is a recipe from one of the greats, Craig Claiborne, for braised red cabbage with roast chestnuts and apples. It's downright elegant, because sometimes Bubble and squeak just won’t do!

1 3 lb red cabbage
12 fresh chestnuts
1/4 lb pancetta or bacon, diced small
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cooking apples (about 1 lb)
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450. Shred the red cabbage and set aside. Score the chestnuts and place on a sheet pan and bake in hot oven for 10 minutes or until they open. Let the nuts cool a little so you don’t burn your hands, and then peel them. Heat the bacon or Pancetta in a sauté pan. Once the fat is released, add the onion and cook briefly. Meanwhile peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters. Add the apples to the sauté pan. Now add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage, salt ,and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the brown sugar, and the chestnuts. Simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Now transfer the mixture to an ovenproof casserole or leave in the sauté pan and place mixture in the oven. Bake 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours, till cabbage is thoroughly tender. Stir occasionally while cabbage is in the oven. Finish by blending in the butter and the vinegar. Serve hot with a nice stew! This makes 8-10 servings.