Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cupboard Love

A winter vegetable dish that can be made a day ahead and freezes beautifully is red cabbage. This particular recipe has the spicy flavour of Christmas, so could be served with turkey, but even better if the chosen meat is beef.
This makes quite a large amount appropriate for a large festive family gathering, but can be frozen in smaller portions.
Christmas Ruby Cabbage: serves 8 - 10 (F)
4 oz (100g) butter
5 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
2 red cabbages (approx 1.5 kg total)
4 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 oz (100g) raisins
zest 1 orange
8 oz (225g) light muscovado sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
half pint (300ml) red wine
3 tblsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Using a large saucepan, melt the butter over high heat then fry the bacon for 4 or so minutes until just beginning to brown. Remove from heat.
Halve the cabbages, removing the core and thinly shred the leaves. Lay a quarter of these over the bacon in the pan, cover with a quarter of the apples, and a quarter of the raisins, a sprinkle of orange zest and some of the sugar, add a little seasoning then repeat layers until all the aforementioned ingredients are used.
Shove the cinnamon sticks into the cabbage and pour over the wine and vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes, then place on a tight-fitting lid, reducing the heat as low as possible (using a heat diffuser if necessary), and cook for one and a half hours or until tender. Do not stir during this time, and make sure the lid is sealed, although check the liquid level every 20 minutes, adding a little boiling water only if necessary.
Cool and keep in the fridge to be reheated gently over a low heat the following day or pack into containers, seal, label and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat gently over a low heat until hot.

The other day gave an recipe to make an alternative stuffing to go with the bird, and today am offering another, this time cooked in one dish. To prevent it becoming dense when baked, make sure you follow the method given. For authentic flavour, whizz ciabatta bread to make the breadcrumbs. This stuffing goes particularly well with turkey, goose, and also breast of lamb.
Note: if wishing to make ahead, mix together the dry ingredients only and keep in the fridge or freezer. Then when ready to cook, mix in the eggs and butter.
Italian Christmas Stuffing: serves 6 - 8
5 oz (150g) soft fresh breadcrumbs (see above)
3 tblsp raisins
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tblsp pine nuts
4 oz (100g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, beaten
2 oz (50g) melted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together, and lightly sprinkle the mixture into a lined 1 lb (450g) loaf tin, WITHOUT PACKING IT DOWN, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 170C, gas 5 for until crispy and golden. Turn out onto a chopping board and cut into slices to serve.