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Christmas Eve Red Cabbage

The big Christmas meal in Spain is eaten on Christmas Eve, and red cabbage is an essential side dish. The spices come largely from the chorizo, a spicy paprika-flavored sausage.

2 pounds red cabbage, chopped
1 onion stuck with 6 cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 ounces salt pork or 4 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound chorizo (or Portuguese chourico or other spiced sausage), cut in small pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar, to taste

Drop the cabbage and clove-studded onion into a large pan of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain. Discard the onion.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, the salt pork or bacon, and the chorizo. Cook gently for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the pork or bacon starts to color. Add the drained cabbage and the sliced apple. Add a little salt (remembering that the pork or bacon and the sausage are already salted). Cover the pan and cook over low to moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender. Stir in the vinegar and serve.

Serves 5 to 6.

By Claire Hopley, Globe Correspondent

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