Red cabbage and cooking apples are both in season in late autumn and early winter, usually harvested earlier in the autumn.
The brilliant red-purple of braised red cabbage is a cheerful splash of colour as the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness gives way to fog and frosts.
Both red cabbage and apples seem to go particularly well with pork. This recipe works equally well with pork chops or pork steaks, either grilled or fried as you see fit.
Braised red cabbage with fried pork steak
Braised red cabbage
8 oz (approx 250 g) red cabbage
4 oz (approx 125 g) cooking apple
Half a small onion
About a teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) of butter
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
About 3-4 fl. oz (approx 75-100 ml) water
2 pork steaks or pork chops
Half a small onion
About half an ounce (approx 10 g) butter
2 teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoon) flour
About 0.25 pt (approx 150 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) tomato puree
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) ready-made mustard
Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut out the tough stalk in the centre. Cut into shreds.
Peel and core the cooking apple, and chop into chunks. Peel and chop the half onion (put the other half aside for the sauce).
Cook the cabbage in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, then drain. At this stage the cabbage will look a rather unappealing blue colour. Don’t worry. In a few minutes you can perform some kitchen alchemy with vinegar and turn it red again.
Add the butter to the drained cabbage and cook gently over a low heat to melt the butter. Stir in the chopped apple and onion.
Stir in the sugar and vinegar. The acid in the vinegar will turn the cabbage a cheerful red-purple colour. Add the water, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Stir from time to time to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, and add a little more water if necessary. Only add a small amount of water at a time, because when it has finished cooking most of the water should have gone, leaving just a small amount of cooking juices.
While the cabbage is cooking, fry or grill the pork chops or pork steaks. I fry them in butter or cooking oil over a moderate heat for about 5-7 minutes each side.
To make the sauce, peel and chop half a small onion and fry gently in the butter in a small saucepan until softened and starting to colour.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, mixing well so that the flour coats the onion pieces. Pour in the milk.
Return the saucepan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. When the sauce thickens, turn the heat down and add the mustard and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper. If it is too thick for your liking, stir in a little more milk. Simmer over a low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the cooked pork steak or chops. Serve with the braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes.