Our Christmas cranberry relish is surprisingly versatile performer. While it doesn't exactly take centre stage and perform a saucy fan dance, it's good for more than just a walk-on part with the turkey and ham.
Last year I turned the leftovers into a cracking cranberry sorbet with the addition of some extra orange juice and sugar.
But it is good used up this way too - so much so that it's worth making from scratch. The relish takes minutes to prepare and will keep in the fridge for several days if you want to get a head start. It makes for a fruity and palate-tingling variation on the usual red cabbage braised with apples.
Braised Red Cabbage With Cranberries (serves 4-6)
Try this with game or with peppery grilled sausages and a mustard mash (buttery mashed potato mixed with a dollop of wholegrain mustard). The cabbage is even better reheated next day and it freezes well.
Either 400-500 ml of pre-made cranberry relish or 350g of fresh cranberries, 1 orange and about 150g caster sugar (or more, to taste)
1 medium-sized red cabbage
2 red onions
1 small glass of red wine
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
30-50 g butter
2 bayleaves and a sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper
Before cooking ...
Heat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas Mark 2.
If you're making the relish from scratch, put the cranberries in a food processor. Finely pare the rind from the orange, leaving the white pith behind, and add it to the cranberries.
Squeeze the juice from the orange and add it to the mix then process until everything is finely chopped but not pureed.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Set aside.
Remove any damaged outer leaves from the red cabbage, quarter and core it and shred it as finely as possible.
Melt the butter in a large casserole on a low heat, add the cabbage, put a lid on and cook very gently for 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage has wilted slightly.
Peel the onions and slice into thin half moons. Add them to the cabbage.
Stir in the cranberry relish, add the red wine and brown sugar, herbs and salt and pepper, stir well and cover.
Cook in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the cabbage is soft but still has a little bite. Check halfway through to ensure it's not drying out and if it is add a little hot water.
... and after