A deliciously different festive side dish boasting archetypal flavours of Christmas
• ¼ large red cabbage, very finely shredded
• 1 beetroot, washed, peeled and coarsely grated
• 1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
• 1 apple, cored and finely sliced
• ¼ tsp allspice
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tsp dark brown sugar
• 10ml cider vinegar
• 1 nutmeg
• Olive oil
• ½ leek, sliced in half lengthways and finely shredded
• 200g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and finely shredded
• 15g (8-10 leaves) fresh sage, finely shredded
• 1 tin borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
• 6 cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped or quartered
• 50g Italian-style hard cheese
• 75ml double cream
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 25g breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 210°C/gas 6. Put the cabbage, beetroot, onion, apple, allspice, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar and a scant grating of nutmeg into a heavy-based pan with a lid.
2. Add a slug of oil and stir well. Heat until it starts to bubble. Add enough water to come about a third of the way up. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.
3. While the cabbage cooks, fry the leek in a little oil on a low heat for 8 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching, adding a splash of water if it looks like it might.
4. Add the sprouts and sage leaves to the leek. Fry, stirring, for 4 minutes.
5. Add the borlotti beans to the mix, along with the chopped chestnuts, Italian cheese, double cream and 4 tablespoons of water. Season with a little salt and pepper (but not too much salt, as the cheese is already quite salty). Bubble for 1 minute. Stir in the Dijon mustard.
6. If your pan is ovenproof leave the mix in it, but if not, transfer to a baking dish. Cover with the breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown. Serve with the cabbage.
Recipe courtesy of Riverford who deliver organic meat, vegetables and fish boxes all over the Welsh Borders. www.riverford.co.uk
Tanners’ Tiffany Vernon has a trio of tipples to pair with our festive gratin...
This decadent Christmas gratin is brimming with ingredients, making it a tricky customer to pair with wine! We need something full bodied with high acidity and luckily I have just the ticket…
Despite this being a modern twist of a dish, I propose a more traditional Christmas wine will work wonders here. Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, Marcel et Blanche Fèvre oozes a wonderful honeyed character entwined with ripe green apples and pears before a mineral-laden long finish. This wine comes from one of the oldest family wine estates, TIPPLE Fèvre, with grapes selected only from the higher-quality vineyard areas of Fourchaume. Better still, it’s on offer over the festive period – normally £28.50, it’s currently just £25!
Alternatively, you could opt for a gorgeous English sparkling such as Gusbourne Rosé (£49), a rich and expressive fizz that boasts flavours of wild strawberries and raspberries partnered with crisp citrus fruit and a toasty note to round it off. The racy acidity of this fizz combines well with the gratin but will also serve as a fab apéritif. It’s a little pricey but it’s worth every penny, especially as it’s made in small quantities from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meurnier (the classic Champagne grape varieties).
Finally, a more unusual contender is Mitchell Sparkling Peppertree Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia (£22.50). Yes, you read that correctly – a sparkling Shiraz! Made from a blend of several top Shiraz vintages, often up to 20 years of age, this sparkler truly does pack a punch with its flavours of spiced mulberries, black plums and blackberries complemented by dark chocolate and floral aromas. This is super fruity yet refreshing and works particularly well with the beetroot and cabbage elements of the dish.
Cheers, and a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Tanners Wine Merchants have branches throughout the Welsh Borders, in Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Hereford, Chester and Welshpool. Tel: 01743 234500. tanners-wines.co.uk
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