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Red Cabbage Ragout with Chestnuts

Apples, onions and spices, together with wine and vinegar, are traditional ingredients to cook with red cabbage. The red wine helps the cabbage keep both its colour and flavour and the long, slow cooking method used in this recipe allows it to absorb all the flavours, giving it a sweet and sour taste. This dish is normally served hot with game and meat dishes, but it is also delicious cold, with a salad.
Preparation time : 25 minutes,
Cooking time : 2 1/2 hours,
Oven : Preheat to 150°C (300°F, gas mark 2),
Calories per serving: 165

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
2 lb (900 g) red cabbage
2 Granny Smith apples
1 medium onion
1 oz (25 g) butter
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
1 - 2 teaspoons crushed juniper berries
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Large glass of red wine or port
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
10 oz (275 g) tin whole peeled chestnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

method

The rich flavour of red cabbage, apples and chestnuts is heightened by subtle spices and juniper berries to make a colourful and heart-warming vegetable dish.

1. Finely shred the cabbage. Peel, core and slice the apples and finely chop the onion. Reserve a small knob of butter and add the rest to a large frying pan with the oil, then add the onion and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until soft.

2. Reduce the heat and spoon the redcurrant jelly into the pan with the onion. Stir for 1-2 minutes until the jelly has melted. Pour the mixture into a large, deep casserole.

3. Fill the casserole with layers of the shredded cabbage, sliced apple and juniper berries, then press the bay leaves and rosemary into the centre.

4. Mix the red wine vinegar with the red wine or port, add the cinnamon and mace. Pour this mixture over the casserole and cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper and a tightly fitting lid.

5. Cook in the Oven for 2 hours and 10 minutes -check occasionally to see that all the liquid has not evaporated - and adding a little vegetable stock, wine or water if necessary. Drain the chestnuts and mix them into the casserole.

6. Season, return to the Oven and cook for a further 20 minutes. The dish can be kept warm for a while, but do not sprinkle over the fresh parsley until you are ready to serve.

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