Whether or not it is true, I have long been of the opinion that God never intended cabbage for human consumption. The rubbery leaves seem more suited to adorn the bottom of brogues than to be cooked up alongside more edible sustenance. I kid, of course, but I truly never have understood the love for this leafy vegetable ... be it green, white, or red cabbage. I fully realise this sort of talk nears treason in Ireland where the cabbage is king, but so be it.
All this having been said, I am always open to trying cabbage dishes that may hold promise for nice flavour and texture. I only recently found a coleslaw recipe that I enjoyed immensely, so I was willing to try this cabbage dish from Margaret Johnson's latest cookbook offering, "Christmas Flavors of Ireland." The inclusion of apples and allspice held great possibilities. Braising the cabbage in red wine is a stroke of genius, too, because this essentially means you're gently cooking the cabbage in a traditional Irish Christmas favourite -- mulled wine (though the alcohol is cooked off over 40-50 minutes in the pot).
The Final Verdict
Margaret's recipe creates a beautiful plate of reddish-purple cabbage with a pleasant aroma. The texture of the cabbage is tender, and the flavour really does fit perfectly with the Christmas season, given the mulled wine effect here. Any cabbage dish I am able to eat is going to absolutely thrill anyone who is a cabbage lover. If that's you, this is a dish that you would do well to include on your table this Christmas.
I look forward to buying "Christmas Flavors of Ireland" and trying the other recipes therein for a truly festive and uniquely Irish Christmas feast.