LAWRENCE MURPHY: Pickled red cabbage for Boxing Day

Pickled red cabbage - one of the finest Christmas colours

Pickled red cabbage - one of the finest Christmas colours

Ram�n Bilbao Vi�edos de Altura�2014, Rioja

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Last week I was preparing braised red cabbage with bacon, red wine and a little duck fat, adding a small amount of balsamic vinegar so the cabbage retained its colour and flavour.

This was for a dish on our lunch menu to be served with duck confit, prune purée and red wine sauce – a lovely winter warmer.

Having a birthday in December means I don’t normally think of Christmas until that’s over, but the red cabbage got me thinking of the festive season.

Fond memories of Boxing Day when traditionally you eat cold turkey, pies and meats with salads, pickles and mustard, while wearing the hand-knitted jumper gran gave you.

I am very partial to anything pickled and I’ve been told that as a baby I would stop crying for a pickled beetroot. Some things just stay with you for life I guess.

Pickled red cabbage is a must for that Boxing Day lunch and if you prepare it now it will have just enough time in the pickle to allow the flavour to mature.

I like to use white wine vinegar in this recipe as it is not as harsh as malt vinegar and I add raisins for a burst of sweetness.

Pickled red cabbage

Ingredients

1 small red cabbage 500g

3 tablespoons salt

400ml white wine vinegar

200ml water

300g caster sugar

100g raisins

4 bay leaves

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

Method

1. Cut the red cabbage into quarters and remove the core

2. Slice the cabbage finely and sprinkle with the salt. Leave for at least two hours.

3. Put all the other ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off the heat allowing the pickle to cool.

4. Wash the salt from the red cabbage and pack into sterilised kilner jars.

5. Pour the cool pickle liquid over the top and seal (share out the raisins to each jar).

6. Store in a cool place for at least two weeks before opening and once opened keep in the fridge.

Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth – fatolives.co.uk – 01243 377914.

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