I’m really excited to share with you the farmer favorite of our farm Christmas party! We had a really great cabbage harvest during the 2014 season, and with every dish I try a new appreciation for this humble vegetable grows. Fresh apples and slow cooking turn this head of cabbage into a sweet and savory dish that’s great along side meat dishes, over rice, added to sandwiches, and just on it’s own. We added some local bacon from our friends at Autumn’s Harvest Farm – but you can leave it out if you need a vegan or vegetarian dish. Just sub your favorite cooking oil (if dairy’s not a problem I’d use butter).
Once sliced into thin shreds, a head of cabbage yields a lot! Feel free to cut this recipe in half for smaller batches. If you have a big group to feed, use the whole head. You can also freeze half of a recipe to enjoy later. Although this is a big batch of cabbage, I only used 2 slices (cut in half), for this dish. The bacon adds flavor, but you don’t need a large amount. This thick cut bacon is long, and two slices is pretty hearty. If your bacon is smaller, feel free to use a few more slices.
Start by crisping the bacon, and then sauté everything in the remaining fat. Deglaze with balsamic (don’t be afraid of the large amount of vinegar in this dish, it adds to the sweet and sour flavor.), then simmer everything covered until it’s soft and melty. Top with the crisped bacon.
Braised Cabbage & Apples with Bacon serves 6 – 8
2 – 4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 large head red cabbage, cut into thin shreds
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Crisp bacon in a large stockpot. Remove the crisped bacon and reserve. If necessary drain all but a tablespoon or two of the fat. (my bacon left just enough fat in the pan). Cook the onions in the bacon fat until translucent, add the apples, stir to combine and cook for a few more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, and stir to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. (If all of the cabbage won’t fit at once, add in batches). Cover and simmer the cabbage for 30 – 40 minutes until cabbage is completely soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer cabbage to a serving dish and top with crispy bacon.