I’ve worked really hard at getting out of the British habit of talking about the weather before anything else. I’ll have to beg for your forgiveness today, because we’re in a veritable weather crisis up here in Seattle. Yesterday was just a hot mess in the weather department. And when I say hot, I am not talking about the temperature.
Sun! No, wait. Rain. Clouds. Blue sky. Sun! Oh. Hang on. Torrential downpour. Sun! Big black clouds. Was that thunder? No? Yes? Maybe? Is that sun? Sun!! Puffy white clouds! Fog. Drizzle. Sun! Blue sky! Oh, where’d it go? Rain. Sun! Rain. Sun! Downpour. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
After I woke up and lolled under the sea of blankets on my bed for a while, listening to the pouring rain and thinking about what mischief I might get up to for the next 17 hours, I was undecided between resurrecting my Ark-building Project and training to be a mud wrestler. I also reminded myself repeatedly that it is, in fact, June. Despite the weather’s assertions to the contrary. We like the rain because it makes everything all green and pretty, but really, Mother Nature. Really?? Have you considered therapy?
My mind had been similarly all over the place with regard to the Friday Night Dinner menu. Fish! Salmon or Tuna? Tuna! No, salmon. Pork? Fish. Fish or pork? Pork. Salmon? No, pork. Definitely pork. Hot side? Salad? Salad. Feels like Spring. And hot side. Feels like Fall. Comfort food. Hot side. Feels like Fall. Hot side. Brussel Sprouts! Cabbage. Yes! Cabbage. I know – Red cabbage!! Yes. Red cabbage. And a salad? Oh, how about Glazed Shallots? Yes! YUM. Salad. Yes, a salad. In case the Red Cabbage is a fail. Salad. No shallots. Mercy.
We had red cabbage. Growing up I loved my mother’s red cabbage dish, although she didn’t make it often. Her recipe used apples, but since apples are not the most *SANE™ fruit on earth, I thought I’d try pears. I was terrified that today was going to be the day that Mini-Me and The Hubs would eat something I’d made that they didn’t like. Neither of them had experienced the joy that is Hot and Fruity Red Cabbage, or in fact, any kind of red cabbage. It was a huge relief, then, when The Hubs ate spoonfuls and spoonfuls of red cabbage off his plate first, before even glancing at the delicious pork chop on the wayside of his plate. Mini-Me declared it “Delicious!” And I heaved a huge sigh of relief. We wouldn’t need the If-they-don’t-like-the-red-cabbage Caesar Salad after all. The Hubs ate the Caesar anyway.
I threw in some dried cranberries at the end to provide some extra texture and a bit of extra fruity flavor. They add a slightly tart chewiness to the whole cabbage-y affair. If you are living the *SANE™ lifestyle you may opt to leave these out, although as Jonathan Bailor always says, “We’re not going for perfection here.” Dried fruit is not as *SANE™ as fresh fruit, but a little here and there won’t undo all your good work. The addition of some garbanzo bean flour at the end turns the glorious purple cooking liquid into a beautiful glaze that coats the cabbage rather than having puddles of liquid on your plate.
This is possibly the fastest hot side to prep ever. It takes just a few minutes to sling together and then in the oven it goes for a long, slow cook. A fabulous side for a chilly evening, and for when it’s June in Seattle but it feels like November. I served this with Creamy Pork Chop Parcels that cooked in the oven right alongside (recipe up next!), but it would work well with many hearty main dishes. It would make a lovely salad served cold with slices of turkey breast and a Caesar salad.
- 2 lb / 900g red cabbage, finely shredded
- 3 large pears, peeled, cored and sliced thickly
- ½ cup / 4 fl oz. chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- ½ tsp. konjac flour (glucomannan powder)
- ½ cup / 4 fl oz. chicken or vegetable stock
- Place half the shredded cabbage into a large, lidded, ovenproof casserole.
- Place a layer of pears on top of the cabbage and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Repeat the cabbage and pear layers.
- Pour over ½ cup stock and the lemon juice.
- Cover with the lid and bake at 325 F for 2 hours until the cabbage is just tender.
- Remove from the oven and stir well. Add extra salt if needed.
- Place the casserole on a medium heat and add the dried cranberries, if you are using them.
- In a small bowl, rapidly whisk the konjac flour and ½ cup stock.
- Stir the flour slurry into the cabbage and heat the cabbage for a few minutes to thicken the glaze.
- Spoon into a serving dish or serve at the table straight from the casserole.