When I asked Caroline if she would like to contribute one of her favorite recipes to the new “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook“, she immediately said “yes”. One of Caroline’s very favorite recipes is for a dish that she and her mother have made for years, Traditional Braised Red Cabbage with Apples.

Red cabbage is very plentiful in Panama and especially in Boquete, where large fields of cabbages can be seen the year around. The photo above shows a red cabbage that must be growing in alkaline soil, as it’s a bit greenish in color compared to our deep red ones. According to Wikipedia, acid soils are needed to produce the beautiful red cabbages that are grown here in Boquete. We have the perfect moist, cool weather it takes to grow such a gorgeous, nutritious vegetable.

When choosing a cabbage, I buy the firmest, heaviest, most colorful head available, one without many loose outer leaves. Cabbage, whether red or green, is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein and fiber. It’s also mildly anti-inflammatory.

I used my new Cuisinart food processor and my largest bowl when preparing Caroline’s cabbage dish and mixed all the ingredients together first.  By reading Wikipedia, I discovered the vinegar in the recipe is not only for taste, but it helps to keep the red color during the cooking process. Don’t you just love Wikipedia?

Traditional Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

2 pounds (1kg) red cabbage
1 pound (450g) onions, chopped small
1 pound (450g) green apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
1 clove garlic, chopped very small
1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 level teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15g) butter
Salt & freshly milled black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C). First discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it in four quarters and remove the hard stalk. Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely, using your sharpest knife, mandolin or food processor. Next, in a fairly large casserole, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage seasoned with salt and pepper, then a layer of chopped onion and apples with a sprinkling of garlic, spices and sugar. Continue with these alternate layers until everything is in. Now pour in the wine vinegar and lastly, add dots of butter on the top. Cover tightly with foil and let it cook very slowly in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, stirring everything around once or twice during the cooking. Red cabbage once cooked, will keep warm without coming to any harm, and it will also reheat very successfully. It does freeze well. You may use more spice, it’s a matter of taste.

This colorful and delicious dish compliments fresh, steamed red snapper and rice with garbanzo beans so well. All three of these recipes will be featured in the new “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook”, coming out soon.

Cabbage is becoming popular lately. At a recent dinner party, hostess Martine Heyer, served homemade sauerkraut, it was really good. It was made with green cabbage, also grown in Boquete. I wonder how sauerkraut with red cabbage would be. I’ll use a “traditional” sauerkraut recipe, like Caroline does with her “Traditional Braised Red Cabbage with Apples”. Why not?

I’ll try it!