Saturday, October 13, 2012

Braised Red Cabbage, a Fall a Recipe for the Best Time of the Year

Fall is like no other time of year as far as I am concerned. The minute Summer really lets go of her grip on the planet and cool fresh breezes blow through the city I am so excited. Everything seems to pull itself back together. The hot sticky heat and humid conditions that raged through the Summertime give way to tight crisp and cooler temps which invigorate and which inspire. Fall is a culinary crossover from the bounty of the Summer garden to the end of the harvest as well as the preparation time for the Winter. Foods not enjoyed as much in the heat become available and appetizing once more as the cooler weather signals of desire for comfort. Preservation of the last of the Summer's bounty through pickling and canning come into play and we desire richer deeper flavors than the one's we sought in the the Summer's heat.

Fall makes me think of colors and hues darker than summer. where the sky can be a brilliant blue but the crisp nip in the air elevates that blue to something extraordinary and sings with the Autumnal hues that it backdrops. The scent of chimney smoke and damp leaves brings back memories of Autumns past, first day of school, fall football games, college semesters, first jobs perhaps out of school, or the first time we sent our own children off into the world in whatever phase that might be, from kindergarten to military service. Fall always seems like a beginning to me, even if it is signaling the end of a cycle.

Fall makes me want to gather in for the impending Winter those parts of my life which I was freer with in Summertime. It is studious and serious and a time to get things moving. Accomplishment seems more precise and less relaxed than during the warmth. And the foods we eat take on a serious note with more complex and concentrated flavors, an earthy meaty quality if you will.

Now fall is a wonderful time for sumptuously prepared vegetables and vegetable dishes. I mean as we move into the fall the veggies become a little more solid and they can be prepared in the most wonderful of manners. Squashes, pumpkins, brussel sprouts, root veggies and leafy greens all seem to prosper in the cooler fall temperatures. And they all seem to go along with the season and the comforting foods we want and crave during this season.

One of these veggies is Cabbage. Now I love cabbage. I really do, in cole slaw, in cabbage rolls, in salads, in potatoes colcanon. I really love it when it's well prepared. I mean lets face it cabbage can be that veggie that has the funky smell or is boiled to death in a pot of water and becomes a bad version of itself, faded and stinky.

But when prepared carefully and artfully cabbage can be amazing. Red Cabbage cooked down with some vinegar and sugar mix seems like a very common way to prepare it. But a REALLY good version of this type of dish is hard to find. This version of that common recipe is a really good one and I am sure and if you try it out you will agree. 

Forrest's version of Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese

1 Medium sized head of red cabbage
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon balsamic glaze or sauce ( optional )
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
4 oz soft goat cheese ( Cherve)

In a pot melt butter and oil
Cook cabbage and let begin to soften
Add the rest of the ingredients
Stir to combine and let cook covered on medium heat for 60 mins, if it gets to dry add more water
Add one ounce of the goat cheese and let melt in and stir in
When ready to serve crumble the remaining goat cheese over the top and gently stir
Serve in a bowl or on a platter and save a few bits of the cheese to dot the top with as a garnish.
Enjoy ya'll!

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