Braised red cabbage with chorizo

braisedcabbage (3)Cabbage is great. Not your soggy schooldays slop, mind – wilted to hell and smelling of damp flatulence and disappointment. No, We’re talking fresh, crisp, savoury cabbage, cooked with a bit of respect for texture rather than a thinly-repressed loathing for children.

Ok, so there’s sauerkraut – that’s soggy and awesome, but the point stands. Cabbage rocks. It is particularly good when shredded fine and cooked in the run-off fat and juices of a joint of ham.

Yesterday, I had a powerful craving for the stuff, and decided to just throw some together with other flavours I liked.

All I did was roughly slice some onions, slice the cabbage thin, slice some chorizo, and garlic, and fry it together with a pinch of caraway seeds, finishing with a half pint of Rioja.

Yeah, “all”. I hear you. But hey, this is the kind of thing Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food and Eat are built on.

braisedcabbage (1)Onions go in first to soften, then cabbage, putting a lid on it for a bit so the cabbage wilts down some (say 10 mins). Garlic and chorizo go in later, then at least 200ml of a big red wine, plus a tablespoon of dark sugar. After that you simmer it slow and low for most of an hour, until the cabbage softens but doesn’t mush. 45 mins at least.

The sweetness and wine bind the cabbage and chorizo flavours well, without getting in the way. I had this as a light main with some sourdough, but it would make a perfectly serviceable side.

The pasta version didn’t work so well, to be honest. The colours are little short of suspicious, and the textures just don’t go. But if you do want to try it, all I did was fry off more onion, add the leftover cabbage, and a couple of chopped fresh tomatoes, then cook it out with a bit more wine.

braisedcabbage (2)Actually, I may have added a leftover slice of bacon, too, which probably just made things more confused. The brassica-ish astringency of the cabbage doesn’t quite sit well with the pasta. It probably would if the leaves were more finely shredded and cooked down almost to caramelization, so maybe that’s one for another day.

Mainly though, I just want sauerkraut now.

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