I`m thinking that braised red cabbage is my new favorite side dish this summer. I know, in the past it`s been more of a fall or winter holiday kind of thing, especially if you have a central European heritage. But…let me tell you this is pretty much awesome for your next get together or BBQ. At room temperature or even chilled it`s a great compliment to any pork (My Milk Braised Pork Belly or Simply The Best Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin come to mind) or chicken dish much less duck or any wild game if you happen to be so lucky!
Obviously it`s pretty clear where I`m going. This simple man`s plan to healthier eating today is Damiana Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, Raisins & Onion. A little sweet offset by a bit of vinegar really brings this easy side dish to life! Not to mention how pretty it will be on your table. I mean, come on, just look at that color, drop dead gorgeous right!
On top of being absolutely delicious cabbage really tops the scale on the health side. Here`s a little more on the nutritional benefits. Cabbage is anti-inflammatory, and rich in antioxidants. Red cabbage gets it’s beautiful color from anthocyanins which are the same antioxidants that give blueberries their color. This antioxidant is very potent, and very beneficial in protecting your body from oxidative stress. Cabbage , like it’s relatives in the brassica family (like broccoli and cauliflower), has been shown to be powerful in reducing risk of cancer. It supports digestive health, and is heart-healthy as it reduces cholesterol. Cabbage is also low in calories but packed with nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate, and helps support your body’s detoxification systems.
In this particular recipe I used Damiana Liqueur to bring some additional sweetness & flavor to the dish. It`s totally optional but really brought a soft herbal background to the end product. For those of you not familiar with this plant based liqueur it`s native to Baja & said to have some interesting benefits. (It`s a great addition to your next margarita as well. Try a 1/2oz float.) Here`s a bit of history on Damiana from www.Livestrong.com. You can read the full article here. http://www.livestrong.com/article/119052-damiana-liquor/
Damiana is a plant that grows well in the hot, humid climate in Baja California, Mexico. Several Mexican producers use the plant to make damiana liquor, a sweet, herbal alcoholic beverage that is rumored to be a strong aphrodisiac. Damiana liquor can be consumed on its own or used as an ingredient in a variety of mixed drinks.
The leaves from the damiana plant were traditionally used in Mexico for medicinal purposes to treat a range of ailments including asthma, headaches and depression. Damiana liquor was first made by the Guaycura Indians in Mexico and used during religious ceremonies. According to ancient legend, damiana liquor was eventually banned by the Guayacara due to its strong aphrodisiac powers. In some parts of Mexico, a wedding tradition includes giving a new bride a bottle of damiana liquor as a gift to encourage fertility.
Damiana liquor has a sweet, herbaceous flavor. The light taste reflects the subtle herb notes of the damiana plant. Some brands of damiana liquor are sweeter than others. Small batch producers tend to make damiana liquor that is less sweet and has more of the original damiana flavor, which tastes mellow and woody.
Enough continuing education, let`s get with it. Here`s what you`ll need for your Damiana Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, Raisins & Onion:
Red Cabbage- 2-3lbs thinly sliced
Apples- 2 cored & thinly sliced
Onion- 1 thinly sliced
Raisins- 1/2 cup
Damiana Liqueur- 2oz
Apple Cider Vinegar- 2oz
Water- 1 cup
Agave Nectar or Sugar- 2 Tablespoons
S & P
Butter- 1 TablespoonToday`s main players.Let`s get our prep work done 1st. Core & thinly slice the cabbage.Thinly slice the onion & apples. Pretty basic stuff.Heat the butter in a large pot with a lid over a medium flame. Add the apples, onion & season with a little S & P. Cook 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions start to soften.Add the Damiana Liqueur, stir & cook 2-3 minutes.Add the apple cider vinegar, water & Agave Nectar or sugar.
Taste & adjust seasoning as needed. Serve now or cool completely & refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Enjoy your Damiana Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, Raisins & Onion!