This recipe, published in The Times in 1991, was adapted from Yves Labbé, the chef at Le Cheval d’Or, a restaurant in Jeffersonville, Vt., that showcased French country cooking. Mr. Labbé was known to serve this side dish alongside quail in a red-wine sauce, and its simple instructions belie depths of flavor. The cabbage cooks down, braising in its own juices, while the sweetness of the apples and maple syrup, a Vermont staple, tones down the bitterness of the cabbage. The result has broad appeal. —Marialisa Calta
We decided to pair it with a tasty and moist Sous Vide Pork Loin which came out of it’s immersion bath at just the right temperature, then was seared on all sides to achieve a golden crust…. but I’m getting ahead of myself… now about this cabbage dish.
It’s quite easy actually. Spend a bit of prep time chopping or mincing the first four ingredients. Next several minutes are spent sautéing the bacon and onion. Everything else now goes in the Dutch oven, the pot is covered and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
The dish was incredibly good. We did notice however quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot and thought perhaps next time we’d reduce the amount of maple syrup by half, using only a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup. Which would appeal to our preference for more savory than sweet.
1 medium firm, tart apple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
1 lb. red cabbage (about 1/2 head), cored, outer leaves removed and shredded
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup maple syrup
Salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven large enough to hold all of the ingredients, sauté the bacon over medium until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 more minutes.
Add the apple, cabbage, bay leaf, maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
What do you do with a red cabbage leftover from a Farmers Market Arrangement made for your garden club? I know this is a dilemma for many of you…
Kidding aside, cooler October temps invite the braising season to commence. And this is one of those dishes that’s even better the following day, so go ahead and make it when you have time and then serve it on a weeknight with quick cooking chops of some sort.
Be sure to soak the shredded cabbage in cold water as suggested in Step 1. The cabbage absorbs water, which is then released in cooking, and helps to steam the cabbage for utmost tenderness.
We concur, this is probably THE BEST braised cabbage we’ve ever had, and no sugar!