Jerusalem Artichoke, Braised Red Cabbage Puree, Orange Glazed Chicory

Jerusalem Artichoke, Braised Red Cabbage Puree, Orange Glazed Chicory

inspired by The Wimborne Pig

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Despite all the restrictions, the changes of plans and the lack of pubs and restaurants we did, in fact, have a very merry Christmas.

It just goes to show the power of good food (and wine) to lift the spirits and create a sense of celebration. But like all celebrations, Christmas comes with a certain level of over indulgence.

Don’t panic, I’m not going to start talking about diets or detoxes. I’m currently demolishing the last of a box of Quality Street whilst I write this, so you have nothing to fear.

But even I have to admit there comes a time when I just want to eat something a little simpler, a little lighter, and a lot less meaty than the standard festive fare.

It’s a few days after the main event, the fridge is still stuffed full of half eaten cheeses, pots of cream and endless pig products (two types of ham, leftover pigs in blankets, chorizo, pancetta and bacon at last count).

However none of that appeals right now. As an ex vegetarian, as much as I now love meat, there comes a time when I want something plant based to counteract all the richness of the last few days.

So I’m going into my fridge, pushing aside the leftover meat, and reaching for a bowl of braised red cabbage.

I’m never sure why I bother with red cabbage at Christmas. I mean, I love red cabbage, but it is always seems to be the one side dish too many. Once your plate is piled high with everything else, it sits on the table, neglected and barely eaten.

So it’s time to shine a light on this under appreciated side dish. It’s the main inspiration for my veggie dinner today.

You never need to look further than a restaurant menu to search for inspiration for what to do with leftovers. For any food business waste means a loss of profits. So restaurants will use up everything they can. Leftover turkey becomes pies. Sausage meat could become sausage rolls to sell as bar snack.

And at The Wimborne Pig in Dorset their Christmas menu has a starter that uses braised red cabbage. Perfect for what I want right now.

Festive Menu starter at The Wimborne Pig

For once looking at a Christmas Menu doesn’t make me sad. So many restaurants never got a chance to serve theirs. But with The Wimborne Pig being in Dorset, which means it’s in Tier 2, it’s time to celebrate a festive menu that can actually be eaten in a restaurant this year.

I actually read this menu before Christmas. So I’m prepared with jerusalem artichokes and chicory ready and waiting in the fridge. Not your usual Christmas veg, but both very, very delicious.

In fact this is my first time cooking with Jerusalem artichokes. I had always (wrongly) assumed that they were similar to globe artichokes. And seeing as globe artichokes are a right pain to prepare, I’ve never given them much thought.

But it turns out Jerusalem artichokes are a completely different type of vegetable all together! A root vegetable that looks a bit like ginger, but has a sweet nutty taste. There’s no need to peel them, and thanks to the lovely people at Farmdrop where I got mine from, they don’t even need scrubbing clean.

I simply pop them into an oven with some rosemary and garlic, tossed in olive oil, to roast until soft and almost bursting out of their skins.

The red cabbage puree is a doddle. A quick blitz in the food processor than then heated up and an extra knob of butter added in for good measure.

For the orange glazed chicory I slice a which chicory in half lengthways and put cut side down into a hot pan until nicely charred. I transfer the two halves (cut side up) to a foil parcel with the juice and zest of an orange, some thyme and some butter. Seal up the parcel and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes.

To plate up I try and be a bit fancy like the restaurant and create a swirl of the red cabbage puree.

This does not go well.

As someone who owns neither a piping bag, nor one of those squeezy plastic bottles you see in professional kitchens, my attempt as piping using a freezer bag with the corner cut off just creates a big mess. Both on and off the plate.

Swirls abandoned, I gently dollop the puree on the plate instead. Top with the roasted artichokes and the chicory halves. I scatter over some chopped raw red chicory and garnish with parsley. Finally I pour over the orange cooking juices from the roasted chicory.

It’s sweet and fruity and rich. Everything you expect from a festive plate. And yet at the same time it’s light, and fresh and actually tastes good for you.

I think I’ve found the perfect balance of indulgence and detox. All on one plate.

It’s practically a Christmas miracle.

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