Braised Cabbage in Balsamic

March 28, 2011

IMG_7562 edited

Friends, there’s a breeze up my skirt and it ain’t from the autumn wind. Ok sit down and look into my eyes. You trust me, don’t you? Because I’m going to tell you one thing that’s going to change your life. Ya ready? Braised balsamic cabbage. You really need to make this now. 

Who could’ve guessed that a humble cabbage could give this carnivore a nice lofty breeze in her tail (hold the cabbage wind jokes peeps). But seriously, this is the best cabbage dish you’ll ever taste and for a vegetable that is pretty bloody boring, it’s a big bold claim. But then again, the cabbage is cooked in butter, sugar and balsamic vinegar. And at the end, it does sit all pretty and tender in a spiced, syrupy, sweet-but-with-a-bite glaze. Not hard to love it at all, no siree.

You can serve it as a side dish to any rich red meat but I reckon any game especially duck, would be the most divine. Ah heck, just a bowl of it by itself is pretty amazeballs. I never thought I could be in love with a vego dish and now I can’t imagine preparing cabbage any other way. Far be it for me to mess with magic right?

IMG_7574 edited

Braised Cabbage in Balsamic


1 red cabbage (about 700g), outer leaves removed, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
2 tart Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thickly
150g butter
150g light brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar (substitute with cider vinegar if you wish)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground cloves


Preheat oven to 180°C. In a casserole dish over medium heat, stir together the butter, sugar and vinegar until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Add the cinnamon and cloves and remove from heat.

Add cabbage and apple and toss to coat. Cover the surface with a sheet of wet, crumpled baking paper (a.k.a a cartouche) and bake in the oven for 1-1.5 hours or until the cabbage is tender but with a slight bite and the liquid has reduced to a slightly syrup consistency. Give it a stir every 30 minutes or so but be sure to re-wet the baking paper each time you do to prevent it from burning.

Serve warm on the side to any meat dish or by itself.

Print this recipe

Recipe adapted from Cooking For Friends by Gordon Ramsay.


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Liv B May 4, 2015 at 18:05

I would so love to try this! Is there any way to get around the 1.5 hour cooking time? Alternatively, does this re-heat well? Planning Mother’s Day dinner & trying to get organised so on the day it’s not stressful :) Thank you!


Citrus and Candy May 4, 2015 at 18:37

Hi Liv, unfortunately cabbage needs low-heat and slow-cooking to be braised without turning it into mush. Also if you cook it at too high of a heat, it’ll burn more easily because of the balsamic and sugar content. I see no problem with reheating it in the oven the next day :)


Liv B May 4, 2015 at 18:46

Thank you!! I didn’t even realise you were an Aussie blog! I found you by accident via pinterest! Don’t you love the internet? I am definitely putting this on the table for our Mother’s Day dinner :) Thanks again for responding so promptly to brand new comment on a years old recipe.


Maria May 20, 2013 at 09:39

Mmm… sounds really tasty. I will definitely cook this tomorrow! Thanks for sharing this recipe!


maggie September 21, 2011 at 07:25

Do I have to use the apple or can I omit it?


Citrus and Candy September 21, 2011 at 15:33

Hi Maggie, you can absolutely omit the apple. I’ve done it many times and it still tastes fantastic :)


TheGourmetCoffeeGuy April 3, 2011 at 02:30

This is one of our favorite recipes for cooking red cabbage. The combination of apples, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar is simply fantastic. We have used apple cider vinegar as well, either vinegar in the right quantity is not too strong and it gives this dish a very special flavor. It is a dish that freezes very well which is a great time savings for a quick meal later on. We usually eat it with beef but it tastes great with poultry as well. Your photos are great, thanks for sharing.


mlle délicieuse March 30, 2011 at 12:01

I'm thinking this is like sauerkraut but in a much less in-your-face kind of way! And I second the notion of serving it alongside pork belly, mmm…


Susan March 30, 2011 at 01:18

I love cabbage and balsamic. It's my favourite side dish at the bavarian beer cafes. Would be nice with a meaty pork knuckle!


emiglia March 29, 2011 at 11:25

Sold! My mother's German family makes a similar dish, without the spices and with cider vinegar instead of balsamic, but while I love that version, I'm excited to try this one!


Erielle March 29, 2011 at 04:32

OK I am convinced. To the market I go.


budafist March 29, 2011 at 03:28

I adore cabbage and I adore balsamic. I gonna make this tonight (if I can get red cabbage on the way home).


Sarah March 29, 2011 at 01:47

Wow, that looks AMAZING! I'm going to have to make this ASAP!


choc March 28, 2011 at 21:54

red cabbage is much less cabbage-y than other varieties. i love it.


Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 28, 2011 at 09:08

I love doing this to cabbage! It's like the opposite of the old boiling cabbage method which would stink the house up enough to act as a pest exterminator. Friend exterminator too, probably.

Can't eat cabbage now on my FODMAP diet so I'll just eye yours off longingly. Oh cabbage, I wish we could still be friends… sigh..


citrusandcandy March 28, 2011 at 08:28

I think I need to stop wearing skirts ;)


citrusandcandy March 28, 2011 at 08:28

Endive is awesome for slow-cooking so I think it'll definitely work in this especially with the sweet glaze to mellow the bitterness. I think the bitterness of radicchio would also work beautifully but I don't think it'll suit slow cooking as well as endive and cabbage. But if you do try it, you'll have to reduce the cooking time because it's a more tender vegetable than cabbage.

You can most definitely use the lid to cover it instead but the sauce probably won't be as reduced or syrupy since it won't 'evaporate' as much. Having the paper on means that the sauce will cook down nicely without the top drying out. But it's such an easy flexible recipe so I think it work either way.

Hope this helps you out and hope you enjoy it! :D


citrusandcandy March 28, 2011 at 08:19

You can definitely replace it with any vinegar that you may like but I promise that the balsamic isn't very strong in this. Ooh yes, the colour is so mesmerising isn't it? :)


citrusandcandy March 28, 2011 at 08:18

If it makes you feel better, I promise you that you won't taste a lot of the balsamic flavour and pungent-ness in this dish. The long cooking and sugar really mellows out the power of vinegar :)


citrusandcandy March 28, 2011 at 08:17

Hi Ellie!

I had the book for ages and I can't believe it took me this long to make it too! I truly think this dish is fabulous with any meat and of course, by itself. I did mention that this would be divine with duck and game meat so I can only imagine how good pork would be too seeing as they all suit the slightly sweet accompaniments. And from the consensus of commenters, pork seems to be the #1 choice :D

The thought of a crispy pork crackling with the sweet cabbage is making me all woozy in a good way. But I'm with you: I'd defintely up the vinegar a little with a fattier piece of meat.


Ellie @ KitchenWench March 28, 2011 at 07:14

I saw this in one of my Gordon Ramsay cookbooks too, and I've been toying with the idea of making it for the past few months! I know you said you'd pair it with red meat, but for some reason, I think I'd like to serve it with something like twice-cooked pork belly, as I imagine the vinegar would help cut through the fattiness of the meat? What do you think?


john@heneedsfood March 28, 2011 at 05:13

Your opening line almost had me spit out my lunch. Thats hilarious! If its that good, then I just have to try it!


spicyicecream March 28, 2011 at 05:05

I'm so going to make this for easter lunch with the boy's parents! Looks scrummo, that colour is gorgeous.


Mei Sze March 28, 2011 at 05:04

I believe you. I've had the pleasure of eating this at an ex-colleague's dinner party. It would definitely go well with crispy skinned pork belly!


Rhonda March 28, 2011 at 01:00

mm yummy looks like that would also go a treat with roasted pork belly and crackling!!!!


Steph March 27, 2011 at 21:39

Ohhh this looks like it would be so great as a winter side dish. Look at the colour! Awesome :)


ojii March 27, 2011 at 20:42

I love balsamico, but I don't care for cabbage – would this work with endive or radicchio perhaps? Also, is it critical to use the wet baking paper? Could this just be done in a dutch oven with the lid mostly-on? Going to try this one way or another!


vibromasseur March 27, 2011 at 19:01

I don't like balsamic vinegar too


Kaitlin March 27, 2011 at 16:52

I hate balsamic vinegar, but this sounds so so so good to me. I love the color!

Cabbage rocks!


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: