Much in the same way that moving to France is forcing us to empty drawers and cupboards and reconsider the value of our numerous possessions, it has also required the digging around in the back of the fridge and food cupboards for disregarded packets of herbs, spices and other ingredients that need using up.
The first unloved food item that I laid my hands on was this jar of pickled cabbage, lovingly crafted and donated by Mother last Christmas. I’m usually a big fan of the stuff – it reminds me of my granddad who used to make it by the bucket load, usually from his own homegrown cabbage – but for some reason this jar had gotten shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.
What to do with it, I wondered? Other than slathering it over cheese and crackers, which is the default usage, I had no idea.
Maybe the internet will shed some light on what to do with pickled cabbage? And so I took to Google to find out. Much to my disappointment, there were multiple recipes for how to make pickled cabbage but few offering insight into what to do with it once made.
Then I found this blog with a post from Meese who coincidentally had experienced the same challenge as me. In among the many suggestions as to how to introduce variety to the pickled cabbage experience was this recipe from UbuRoivas.
“Nthing the “use it like sauerkraut” suggestions.
As with sauerkraut, you can improve it a lot by not just using it right out of the jar, but by doing just a little cooking, eg:
– melt butter
– saute chopped up onions (and bacon, if your diet allows it)
– add sauerkraut / pickled red cabbage & toss to coat with buttery, oniony, bacony goodness
– leave on low heat for as long as it takes to make your other ingredients (eg german sausages, mashed potato). Top up with a little water from time to time to stop it drying out.
* pro tip: red cabbage needs to be kept acidic or else it will go a disgusting grey colour. This is basically why yours is probably pickled in vinegar. During the cooking above, you might want to splash in a little vinegar of your choice to keep it nice & acidic – I made a different red cabbage dish a while ago & used balsamic to great effect. Consider also tossing in a few cooking apples (eg Granny Smith) cut into wedges for a nice sweet-sour combination.”
I decided to follow their lead and threw some chopped onions and apples in a pan with the (drained) cabbage, sprinkled over some brown sugar (another item lurking in the back of the cupboard) to take the edge off the vinegar and then let it stew for about half an hour.
Hey presto, a delicious and different side dish that worked perfectly with our vege sausages.