Christmasy, Starry, Red Cabbage

“The food is possibly not the smartest choice for a day when my legs are sticking to the furniture: the charms of confit duck leg with braised red cabbage and apple and fig compote, and honey and pomegranate-glazed golonka (oh, hello, it’s that pork knuckle). Well, they’re a bit Christmassy.”

Marina O’Loughlin, The Guardian, August 2015


This is a very Christmasy version of red cabbage using, as it does, mulled wine, cinnamon, cranberry jelly…and yes, stars – star anise to be precise.

You may be tempted to make double quantities of this as it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and it heats up well (add a little more butter and cranberry jelly when you do this).

It goes well, of course, with ham or gammon. But it also goes well, as Marina O’Loughlin discovered when dining at the Polish restaurant, Ognisko, with confit duck leg and apple and fig compote.


For more recipes for red cabbage, follow this link.

To find out more about star anise, follow this link.


Recipe for Christmasy, Starry, Red Cabbage

Serves 6


• 1 medium head of red cabbage (approximately 925g/2 lbs)
• 150g/5 oz butter
• 1 onion
• 3 star anise
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (at Christmas, I go over the top and use redcurrant jelly with silver flakes in it….it matches the tinsel!)
• 60g/⅓ cup soft brown sugar
• 1 tbsp salt
• 300 ml/1¼ cups mulled wine (buy ready made)
• 80ml/⅓ cup good quality balsamic vinegar


1. Melt about two-thirds of the butter in a large saucepan – or ideally a Dutch oven.
2. Peel and chop the onion and add to the pan – keep the heat gentle.
3. Discard any outer, damaged, leaves of the cabbage, cut out the core, and shred (I do this manually by cutting thinly with a long, sharp knife). Add the cabbage to the saucepan.
4. Add the salt, and stir well. Add the cinnamon and star anise. Cover and leave for ten minutes.
5. Add the mulled wine and the balsamic vinegar. Stir well.
6. Add the sugar. Stir again. Cover and simmer (use the simmering oven if you have an aga) for about an hour.
7. Just before serving add the rest of the butter and the redcurrant jelly to give the cabbage a sparkly gloss.



christmasy red cabbage recipe
Cranberry jelly with silver flakes floating scintillatingly within


Music to cook to

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