It seems that there are two types of people: those that love beets and those that don’t. Fortunately I happen to love the bright purple root vegetable. Unadulterated and oven roasted, they boast an earthy and savory flavor with just a touch of subtle sweetness. Beets work well as a versatile ingredient in savory and sweet recipes, too, with a variety of preparation styles including roasted, boiled, pickled and even candied to name a few.
This particular Braised Beets and Red Cabbage dish became an instant favorite last year when making it for my family Christmas Eve dinner. As an addition to the traditional Eastern European menu of sour mushroom soup, baked fish and homemade pierogies, I took note that the flavors melded remarkably well.
A few months later for Easter brunch, it perfectly complimented a honey-glazed spiral ham, spinach and cheese strata and deviled eggs. As an everyday dish, my sister and I enjoy it alongside quiche for breakfast, with cottage cheese as a snack or paired with roasted pork tenderloin and fingerling potatoes for dinner. And, just this week I made it for a Thanksgiving potluck lunch – again, it works so well!
Is this a quintessential go-to recipe? It just may be.
I’ve prepared the red cabbage and beets two ways: by thinly slicing the cabbage and roasting then grating the beets, or by simultaneously grating the cabbage and raw beets in the food processor (which is captured in these images). The latter is a quicker solution, but I have found that the dish is moister when taking the time to roast the beets prior to braising. Outlined in the recipe below is my preferred method.
The carrots in this recipe are optional should you not have on hand or want to omit. The recipe is excellent without them, as well, but I’ve found that they add another depth of subtle sweetness. When braised, the orange color disappears amidst the prominent hues of the cabbage and beets. The resulting dish is a beautiful shade of deep, red wine that adds an eye-appealing punch to any plate.
BRAISED BEETS AND RED CABBAGE
Adapted from Bon Appetit
3/4 pound red cabbage (1/2 small head), thinly sliced
4 medium beets (about 2 inches in diameter), roasted, peeled and grated (instructions for how to roast beets here)
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup (or more) water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1. Add the sliced cabbage, grated beets and carrots to a large bowl and set aside.
2. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, about 15 minutes. Mix in cabbage, beets and carrots
3. Add 1/2 cup water and vinegar. Cover; simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. If mixture is dry, add more water by the tablespoons as the mixture cooks until vegetables are tender. I used about 1 cup in total. Season with salt and pepper.
The dish keeps well for days in the refrigerator. May be served warm, at room temperature or cold.