We always had some sort of braised red cabbage during the Jewish holidays, especially Rosh Hashana, when I was little. I remember being very skeptical of the sweet and sour jumble, but then really falling for it.
For this cabbage dish, I decided to fall headfirst for the notion of “red,” adding radicchio and red onions to the cabbage. The stovetop braising softens the bitterness of the lettuce and the sharpness of the onion, though those do contribute wonderful layers of flavor to the dish. A little sweetness comes from the honey and the orange juice, a bit of tartness from the lemon, and a bit of both from the balsamic vinegar.
Seriously, how awesome is this dish, and can’t you picture it sitting next to a roast of any kind? This recipe makes a lot, so use a big pot or Dutch oven. I love the leftovers, but you easily can cut the recipe in half.
Spicy Braised Radicchio
and Red Cabbage With Citrus
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (45 minutes largely hands off time)
Serves 12 to 16
2 medium heads radicchio
1 head red cabbage
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup Madeira
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Quarter and core the radicchio and cabbage, and very thinly slice both vegetables. Place the radicchio and cabbage in a large bowl. Sprinkle the orange juice, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar over them, give a very generous sprinkling of salt, and toss. (This will look like a large quantity of vegetables, which it is, but keep in mind it will reduce by almost half when cooked.) Set aside, and give the mixture a toss every once in a while, while you sauté the onions; you can cover the bowl and refrigerate it overnight if you like.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper flakes, coriander, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes, until the onions are very soft and lightly browned. Stir in the red wine, Madeira, honey and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then stir in the radicchio, cabbage and citrus juices. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are wilted and very tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened a bit. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or warm.
Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories; 36 calories from fat; 4 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 102 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein.