Braised red cabbage is a wonderful side dish, delightfully matched with the flavor of pears. In this dish the pears are quickly sauteed in bacon grease. Fresh ginger, vermouth, coriander and pine nuts all complement the pears. The pears cooked with the cabbage will fall apart, so additional pears are added as a garnish and to provide a fresher taste. This dish is particularly good with pork, ranging from simple grilled chops to a loin roast.
Makes 6 servings
2 pears (slightly under-ripe)
2 tablespoons butter
3 strips bacon
1/2 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half-rounds
1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsley chopped
1/4 cup sweet vermouth (or other sweet red wine)
2 tablespoons pear (or cider) vinegar
5 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 small cabbage, sliced and cored (about 3 cups or 1 pound)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Roasted pine nuts (optional garnish)
Peel, quarter and core both pears. Cut 4 quarters into 3 wedges. Dice the remaining pear. Keep separate.
Heat a saute pan or covered skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Lay pear wedges in skillet and saute until lightly browned — about 1 minute. Flip pears and cook another minute. Reserve pears.
Add bacon to pan and cook over medium heat to desired crispness. Drain bacon on a paper towel (keeping bacon fat in pan) and chop coarsley.
Add onions and ginger and saute until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add vermouth and vinegar and deglaze pan. Stir in brown sugar and coriander. Add cabbage and diced pear and sprinkle with salt. Stir to mix ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Serve garnished with bacon, sliced pears and optional pine nuts.