My mother loved braised cabbage; this was her go-to winter vegetable when she was tired of peas, carrots, green beans or corn. She always used red cabbage but any cabbage will work. The onion adds a little tang and the bacon a smoky flavor. I add pear; my mother always used apple. Either will add some sweetness to the dish and, when combined with the fat from the olive oil and bacon, give it a full-bodied richness. Prepare the onion, bacon, and cabbage ahead of time and this takes around 15 minutes to cook. And it can be a vegan dish if you leave out the bacon. Makes 4 servings using a 3-4 inch cabbage.
In a large saute pan, add:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped uncooked bacon (whatever bacon your family likes works fine) — IF your bacon is very fatty, don’t use the olive oil
Cook until bacon is browned. If you have more than a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan, drain some off. Add to the pan:
- 1 cup chopped onion
Cook until onion is softened. Add:
- 4-5 cups chopped cabbage
- 1/4 cup vinegar (any vinegar works but if white is used, a little less vinegar would probably be good unless your family really loves the taste of vinegar)
Cover and braise 5-7 minutes until cabbage is softened, stir once or twice during cooking.
Add 1 diced apple or pear and cook another minute or two until fruit is soft (the apple may take a few minutes more than the pear). Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and serve.