Cabbage Braised in Red Sauce

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It still confounds me what pops up on the internet when I least expect it. I’m talking recipes of course. With all of the cooking I’ve done for almost 40 years (yikes!) I just love it when something unique shows itself.

Case in point, a Bon Appetit recipe called Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage. It wasn’t the name that caught my attention, but the photo of charred and braised cabbage in a red sauce. I just had to make it.

Mine isn’t as beautifully styled, but it is still a beautiful dish, and most importantly, delicious.

Cabbage Braised in Red Sauce
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

1/4 cup double-concentrated tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne chile pepper flakes
1 medium head of green cabbage (or savoy), about 2 pounds total
1/2 cup extra-virgin oil, divided
Kosher salt
1 cup broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

I like to use tomato paste in a tube.

Cut cabbage in half through core. Cut each half through core into 4 wedges.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, add cabbage to pan, cut side down, and season with salt.


Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cabbage to a plate.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup of oil into skillet. Add spiced tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tomato paste begins to split and slightly darken, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in enough water to come halfway up sides of pan, season with salt, and bring to a simmer. I used vegetable broth mixed with tomato sauce for extra flavor. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of water.

Nestle cabbage wedges back into skillet (they should have shrunk while browning; a bit of overlap is okay). I placed the wedges of charred cabbage in a baking dish instead of using the skillet.

Transfer cabbage to oven and bake, uncovered, turning wedges halfway through, until very tender and liquid has mostly evaporated, about 40-50 minutes. Cabbage should be caramelized around the edges.


Scatter chopped parsley over the cabbage.


Serve with creme fraiche.


Today I wanted lamb so that’s what I made for the protein! But the cabbage would be prettier with grilled chicken or sausages.

I think the red sauce would also be good with some oregano and a pinch of cinnamon, instead of the coriander and cumin. But leave in the cayenne!

Honestly, if the red sauce was more Italian-inspired, I could definitely see some grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top!

Cranberry Braised Cabbage

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A while back when I made cabbage bundles, I only used 12 of the larger, outside leaves of the one green cabbage I purchased. And there was no way I was going to throw away the rest of the par-boiled cabbage. So what to do?

my par-boiled cabbage, sliced

my par-boiled cabbage, sliced

Even though it’s January, I’m still in a festive mood. And, I happen to love braised cabbage, especially because you never have to make it the same way twice. I especially love the look of purple cabbage. Last year I braised cabbage with chestnuts.

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When I make braised cabbage, I typically start with butter and onions. But the fun part is choosing the braising liquids! There’s broth, wine, apple cider, and so forth. In fact, you can add sliced apples or pears along with the onions if you want that flavor as well. Jelly is traditionally added for a little sweetness, but I decided to use my cranberry-cherry chutsauce that I had left over. That made it a way more festive dish, and was a nice compliment to the green cabbage.
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So here’s what I did.

Braised Cabbage with Cranberry-Cherry Chutsauce

2 ounces butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small cabbage, thinly sliced
White wine, I used a Riesling
Pinch of salt
Cranberry-cherry chutsauce*

Begin by melting the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes.
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Add the sliced cabbage and sauté it for another 5 minutes, being careful that nothing gets close to burning.
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Add about 1/4 of Riesling and the salt. If you’re using raw cabbage, use maybe 1/2 cup of wine; you can always reduce it later.


Bring to a light boil, then cover the pot and cook the cabbage for about 10-15 minutes, or until completely tender. It should be very wilted.

Remove the lid and reduce any remaining liquid in the bottom of the pot.

Add about 2 tablespoons of your choice of cranberry sauce or chutney and stir gently. Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly.


Once heated through, serve alongside pork, ham, duck, or roasted chicken.

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* My chutsauce recipe is not required for this braised cabbage, and I’m not trying to make anybody use my recipe in order to follow this braised cabbage recipe. Any kind of chunky cranberry sauce, preferably, or chutney with cranberries would be fabulous to sweeten the cabbage and spice things up a little. Especially with the individual berries still intact, as you can see in the photos. That’s what I was after. Just know the sweetness of what you’re adding so you can adjust the taste. I personally enjoy a little sweetness, but I don’t want my braised cabbage to taste like dessert!

Braised Cabbage with Chestnuts

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Most people who know me would be surprised to know that I have never cooked with chestnuts, or even had roasted chestnuts sold to me by a street vendor during the holidays. You know, like the song.

Chestnuts have always seemed a little strange to me, even though they grow on trees just like the more familiar nuts. Maybe because I grew up hearing horror stories about my French grandmother practically blowing up her house when she roasted chestnuts in her old-fashioned oven. But then, my grandmother was always a bit funny in a way, and probably shouldn’t have been allowed into the kitchen. She was missing parts of a few fingers, in fact, because of kitchen accidents.

Now I have used chestnut cream, thanks to discovering it in Nigella Lawson recipes. And it is fabulous. In fact, if you have never tried it, run to the store right now and get it. But that is for desserts…

Back to chestnuts – I was at a Williams-Sonoma store last week, and decided to buy a jar and play around with them. I might throw some into the Thanksgiving stuffing I make this year, but for now, I thought I’d add them to a simple braised cabbage, just to spiff up the dish.

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The recipes I’ve always come across for braised cabbage are always too sweet, thanks to additions of sugar and sometimes jelly as well. I’ve toned the sweetness down significantly, because I find cabbage inherently sweet as it is. It’s sort like me refusing to put marshmallows on sweet potatoes.
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So here’s what I did.

Braised Purple Cabbage with Chestnuts

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 large purple onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons jelly, I used plum
10 or so whole, peeled, and steamed chestnuts, sliced
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Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it browns.
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Add the cabbage and onion and sauté it for about 5 minutes in the butter, stirring it around occasionally.
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Then add the salt and wine. Give the mixture a stir, then put on the lid and braise the cabbage for about 15 minutes. I stirred everything once again about halfway through the braising process.
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Add your choice of jelly, return the lid to the pot, and let the jelly melt into the cabbage. The jelly adds some sweetness but also flavor. This should just take a minute.
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Then give everything a good stir. If there’s some liquid at the bottom of the pot you could always raise the heat a little and reduce it, or just make sure to use a slotted spoon to serve the cabbage.

To serve, sprinkle the cabbage with the sliced chestnuts. I served the cabbage with baked chicken, and some truffle oil-roasted carrots. Divine.
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Braised cabbage is also lovely with turkey, steaks and pork chops. This really is a pretty versatile side dish.
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note: If you don’t cook with wine, a little chicken broth would also do the trick.