Saturday, August 18, 2012

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Chestnuts

So... I'm back! The food in France was amazing. There was also a fresh produce stand right next to my apartment building and one block down there was a market every Sunday with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, etc.  The cheese... just wow.  While my mother was there she actually was mad about how great the produce and other things were in France... because why can't we have nice produce in the USA too? Anyway, in honor of the fact that I just spent five weeks in France, I decided to post about a recipe from my French Slow Cooker cookbook. I made this back this January as a side dish to a pork chop recipe and I've spent 30 or so minutes looking through all my cookbooks and recipe cards and I just cannot figure out what recipe I used for the pork chops. (And now, of course, my husbands going to be mad when he gets home because every single cookbook I own is on the kitchen table...)

And, on a side note, this cookbook has a recipe for Ginger Crème Brûlée that's made partly in the slow cooker -- I'd totally try it out right now except that I don't have any ramekins.

So, the Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Chestnuts is a super easy side dish to make. You take cabbage and shred it, then put it in the slow cooker with almost all the other ingredients: chopped apple, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper (I didn't bother with salt). This cooks on low for 5 to 6 hours, but unlike most slow cooker recipes (which say to never never never open the lid), you stir the cabbage mixture occasionally. Could you make it without being around to stir?  Probably.

So this is what it looks like before it cooks (sorry about the blurry photo).

After it's done cooking, you add peeled cooked chestnuts. Now I should note that these were very difficult to find.  I think I ended up calling around until I found a grocery store that carried them. Anyway, you stir in the chestnuts and then cook it for 30 more minutes on low.

This is what it looks like when it's done.

Now, this was yummy.  I mean, really yummy. It's very sweet, so be prepared for that, but the soft cabbage with the slightly harder chestnuts and who doesn't like chestnuts around the holidays anyway? But, here's the thing about this recipe: we were eating this as a side dish forever. It says that it makes eight servings and I honestly don't remember how long we ate it, but we got at least double that. And it got really old as you got to the end -- the sweetness was awesome the first time, but a little too much on the seventh. So I would recommend making a half recipe, and then just put the other half of the cabbage in your salads for the week, or something like that. Or you could try and put less sugar in, like 1 tbsp instead of 2, and that might make it less sweet.

This is the picture from the cookbook. Not that far off, though their cabbage
looks a little more pink, while mine ended up a little more purple.

So part of the reason that I had chosen to make this was because we got apples in our produce delivery and almost everything else is a staple so I only had to buy the cabbage and the chestnuts.  So as I purchased it, it comes out to a whopping $0.81 (if you believe them on how many servings you get) or even $0.41 (if you eat it like my husband and I did). If you did have to buy everything (but the vegetable oil, sugar, and spices are staples, so unless you happened to run out of all of those at the same time, I don't know anyone who would have to buy everything), it would be $3.02 according to the cookbook serving size and $1.51 according to how I think normal people would eat it.

As for calories, this is pretty standard for a vegetable side dish: 145 calories per serving for the cookbook serving size and only 73 calories for how we ate it.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you what the whole meal was exactly because, as I said above, I cannot figure out what recipe I used for the pork but with a pork chop and a salad I'd estimate that this would end up being less than 400 calories as we ate it.  I'd recommend some rice or pasta to go with it to add a little bit more to the meal (unless you're really trying to diet).  The cookbook recommends serving it with "sausages, roast duck, pork chops, or turkey. Add some buttered egg noodles for a perfect winter meal."

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