Moorish Red Cabbage
A braised red cabbage dish is a staple of the festive season and this version with dates, orange, sherry and the spicing has definite north African/southern Spain vibes hence the “Moors” in the title. It would go really well with duck or goose (think duck a l’orange!) or equally well with a nice chestnut roast. It’s “beefed” up a bit with the addition of beetroot – this just deepens the colour, flavour and overall texture.
Its a great make-ahead recipe, easy to freeze and just reheat on the day. This quantity will serve 6 people but will go round more depending on how many other veg you are serving and/or willing hands to do the prep!
Moorish Red Cabbage
500g red cabbage
120g red onion
120g (100g prepped) beetroot
4 medjool dates, stoned and chopped
125 ml sherry
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
water to cover
1 stick cinnamon
salt and black pepper
1 pomegranate (optional)
Peel and thinly slice the beetroot. Place the slices on top of each other and slice through them to form julienne strips. Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible, discarding any tough stems and rough outside leaves. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Cut the orange in half. Take one half and grate the zest, then extract the juice, reserving until the final stage. Take the other half and stick the cloves in it, about half way up from the cut side.
Put about 2/3 of the butter in a heavy bottomed casserole type pan with a lid. Melt over a medium slow heat and toss in the onions. When they begin to go transparent, add the cabbage and the beetroot and stir everything around for a few minutes. Add the chopped dates, orange zest and cinnamon stick and mix in. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and place the orange cut side down in the centre. Turn the heat to very low and add the sherry, vinegar and scant water to barely cover. Cook for approx. 45 minutes, keeping an eye on it every 5 mins, stirring and topping up the water if it is drying out too much. Alternatively place in a low oven for an hour.
Whilst the cabbage is cooking, take the pomegranate and roll it with your hand on the work surface to loosen the seeds. Make a small slit halfway and save any juice that runs out. Cut completely in half and scoop the seeds out, removing any hard pithy type bits.
When the cabbage mixture is all soft, cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, taste it and correct the seasoning.
When you are ready to serve, add the remaining butter and stir in until its melted and the vegetables are shiny. Add the reserved orange juice and turn onto a warmed serving plate. Pour the pomegranate juice over and scatter the seeds on top (if using). So pretty!