Years ago when I was visiting Chicago, probably like 2 years before I moved there (and years before I changed my diet) I went to a restaurant on Michigan Ave called Bandero. The food was good, not Michelin star or anything but but higher quality than most. Oddly, years later I would work less than a block away at the newspaper there. Years later, when I moved to Chicago, I walked past the restaurant and remembered the delicious sweet braised red cabbage, topped with goat cheese, that I had years before. I couldn’t stand it, it sounded so good that I absolutely had to remake it! I googled recipes to try and figure out how to even begin, found a few that I thought looked similar and started cooking! I had a whole bunch of different recipe starters, each using different combinations of ingredients and spices. My little apartment on the border of gang territory on the Northwest side reeked first of cabbage, but then slowly changed to a cinnamon-y, spicey, sweet delicious aroma. One was too spicey, one was too cabbage-y, but eventually I got it just right. My roommate came home in the middle of the experimentation and looked at me with digust, ick – I hate cabbage. Well, that didn’t last long because she gobbled this braised red cabbage up. In fact, I’m posting now because just a few weeks ago she messaged me to see if I had written down the recipe. I haden’t. We text back and forth until we mutually agreed that we had remembered all of the ingredients and their amounts. She made it, decided it was correct, then I made it and agreed. So here it is, before I forget how to make it again.
- 1 red cabbage, sliced thin
- 2 small, or 1 large red onion, sliced thin
- 2 bay leaves, like Simply Organic Bay Leaves
- 2 Organic Cinnamon Sticks
- ¼ tsp Simply Organic Fennel Seed
- 2 tbsp Avocado Oil (or other high heat oil of choice)
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 4+ cups of organic apple juice, like Hansen's Organic Apple Juice (I would probably reserve 6 cups just to be safe but you might not use it all)
- **Optional: Soft goats cheese (I unfortunately can’t tolerate goats cheese)
- In a large saucepan, heat your avocado oil over medium high heat. Add red onions and saute until translucent. Add sliced cabbage and ¼ cup water. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted. Add red wine vinegar, 2 cups apple juice, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Stir, then cover and cook for 1 hour. The cabbage will now be a bright purple color. You could eat the cabbage now, but I would suggest cooking for longer to deepen the flavor. To do this, uncover and add the remaining 2 cups of apple juice. Simmer cabbage for an additional 1.5 hours or more. Make sure to keep an eye on it and check that the apple juice hasn’t fully evaporated – add more juice if it has. The cabbage will darken to a deep burgundy like in the pictures.
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