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Braised Red Cabbage is a wonderfully sweet tangy and spiced side dish for your winter gathering. It tastes wonderful alongside a roast turkey but equally well with rib of beef, game or even a nut roast. Make it ahead of time and stash in the freezer as it re-heats brilliantly.
Everyone in our family has their own ideas over the one side dish that simply must be present on the festive table. My sister advocates for brussel sprouts, Luke clamours for cheesy leeks and I stamp my foot for mashed swede with caramelised onions. However, there is one thing that we can always agree on. Braised Red Cabbage. It’s a must on Christmas Day and in fact I try to cram it into as many meals as I can during this cold season.
Why is this Braised Red Cabbage so marvellous?
- Apples, red onions, red wine, balsamic vinegar and spices give a delightful full bodied sweet and sour flavour.
- Cabbage is cooked until just tender, rather than being over-softened in the braise.
- It can accompany any roasted meat, nut roast or pumpkin dish.
- Ready in just 45 minutes and is mostly hands off cooking.
- Easy to make ahead and freeze. It actually tastes better that way.
- Stunning colour – makes any table more festive.
How do you make Braised Red Cabbage?
For more detailed instructions view the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Melt butter in a large wide bottomed pan.
- Add shredded red cabbage and cook until well coated with the butter.
- Stir in the sliced red onions, grated apple, allspice, a whole star anise and seasoning.
- Place the lid on and cook on a gentle heat for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the red wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
- Place lid back on and cook for a final 15 minutes.
- Serve scattered with pomegranate seeds.
- You can substitute the balsamic vinegar for apple cider vinegar if you would like a sharper flavour.
- Remember to remove the whole star anise before serving.
- Braised Red Cabbage tastes amazing alongside your Glazed Christmas Ham.
Do you need to add the sugar?
The sugar balances out the sharpness of the vinegar. However, if you are avoiding refined sugar then you can substitute with honey or maple syrup. The end result won’t have the same sweetness and will take on the flavour of your substitution.
Can you make vegan Braised Red Cabbage?
Absolutely. The only ingredient you need to switch out is the initial butter. You can use vegan butter or olive oil.
Can you freeze Braised Red Cabbage?
Yes, in fact I heartily recommend it. Braised Red Cabbage tastes better if you make it ahead and it retains its rich flavour during the freeze. Just bring it out of the freezer the night before to defrost thoroughly before re-heating for 10-15 minutes in a lidded saucepan.
How long does Braised Red Cabbage keep for?
You can make it about 3 days in advance but store in the fridge. Re-heat before serving.
If you are looking for more accompaniments to your Roast/Christmas Dinner then why not try:
If you make Braised Red Cabbage then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Braised Red Cabbage
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small red cabbage - about 700g, shredded thinly
- 1 red onion - halved and sliced thinly
- 2 dessert apples - grated
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 100 ml red wine
- 100 ml balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
- 75 g pomegranate seeds
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan then add the shredded red cabbage and coat thoroughly.
- Add the red onion, apples, ground allspice, star anise and seasoning and mix it all together. Place a lid on and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until the cabbage is soft.
- Pour in the red wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir together until completely combined. Place the lid back on and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced by a third.
- Serve scattered with pomegranate seeds.
- ACCOMPANIMENTS - Braised Red Cabbage is equally excellent with Rib of Beef, Roast Turkey or even a Nut Roast.
- VEGAN – Swap the butter for olive oil.
- BALSAMIC VINEGAR – You can swap for apple cider vinegar to give a much sharper flavour.
- SUGAR-FREE – Swap the brown sugar for honey or maple syrup. Or just leave it out – the end result will have a mellow tang rather than a more even balance of sweet/sour.
- FREEZING - Make a couple of weeks ahead of time and stash in the freezer. Braised Red Cabbage defrosts and re-heats particularly well.