It's red, it's warming, it's seasonal! This red cabbage dish, served often with pork chops or sausages in Alsace,also goes perfectly with roast goose - here is the recipe,in time for Christmas. France's most northerly vineyard area, is the last to finish picking grapes - not surprising that some harvest dishes are quite robust to suit cold weather. The lady who gave me this recipe, Mme Koehly from Rodern,is quite robust in spirit herself, some-one who is used to hard work. The stalls in the wonderful street markets here are like still-live paintings piled with cardoons, root vegetables, and brassicas typical of northern Europe.
FOR 6 PEOPLE
1 red cabbage, weighing about 1 kg (2 lb)
1 tablespoon sunflower or groundnut oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2-3 medium-size eating apples
salt and pepper
Cut the tough outside leaves off the cabbage. Cut it in four and cut out the hard white stalk. Now slice the cabbage finely.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and toss the cabbage in it for about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
Peel, core and slice the apples. Add to the cabbage, mixing them together. Add salt and pepper, and water almost to the top of the cabbage.
Bring to simmering point, cover and cook, either on top or in a medium-slow oven for two hours.
A good variation can be made using vacuum-packed chestnuts instead of apples: 20 - 25 should be added to the cabbage.
Vendanges a la carte, as they call the harvest period in the Alsace wine region,usually start in September with early ripening Muscat, continue with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Pint Gris, Gewurztraminer in October and finish in November with vendanges tardive to harvest these "noble grapes" which have developed "noble rot" which give the luscious desert wines of the area.