I love serving this side dish on a cold winter’s night with roast duck, rack of pork or, in this case, Bratwurst Steamed in Beer. It never gets very cold where I live but if the temperature plummets down to 50 that’s cold enough for me to make this delicious, sweet, pungent and oh so tender braised cabbage. You will be surprised to see how much volume you will lose when the cabbage cooks down.
Serves 6 to 8
8 Ounces Thick Cut Smoked Bacon, Cut Crosswise into Julienne Strips
1 Medium Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored and Diced into ½” Pieces
2/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Large Head Red Cabbage (About 3 Pounds) Halved, Cored and Shredded
1½ Teaspoons Coarse Sea Salt
¾ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large braising pan such as a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the red onion and garlic and sauté until onion is wilted and slightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the apples and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar; when the sugar is completely incorporated and begins to caramelize, add the vinegar and stir to combine. Add the cabbage and toss to completely coat with the mixture. Add the salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Cover the pan and place into the oven. Braise for 1½ hours stirring every 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest, covered, for up to 30 minutes.
Hints and Tips: The cabbage can be made several hours in advance. When ready to serve heat the cabbage over medium heat until hot once again.
You can also make the cabbage the day before you serve it. Cool completely and store in a non-reactive container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour. Reheat over medium heat until hot all the way through.