Pic of Chestnut and sprout gratin with spiced red cabbage, apple and beetroot

Chestnut and sprout gratin with spiced red cabbage, apple and beetroot

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Vegetarian mains

Chestnut and sprout gratin with spiced red cabbage, apple and beetroot

Main Serves 2 50 min
This quick-cook red cabbage dish has all the appeal of classic slow-braised red cabbage but takes less than an hour to make rather than the usual three or four. Adding a little beetroot helps the colour stay bright.

Cook's notes

We're serving it with a seasonal gratin – sprouts and chestnuts, a classic pairing, beefed up with nutty borlotti beans and earthy sage. If you like, you can fry some extra sage leaves as we did to garnish the top: heat a little oil in a pan, add the sage and fry for a minute or so, until they crisp up (they become slightly darker once done). Drain on kitchen paper and scatter over the top of the gratin.


  • ¼ large red cabbage
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 apple
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 10ml cider vinegar
  • 1 nutmeg
  • oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 1 leek
  • 200g Brussels sprouts
  • 15g sage
  • 1 tin borlotti beans
  • 6 cooked chestnuts
  • 50g Italian-style hard cheese
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
Image of Chestnut and sprout gratin with spiced red cabbage, apple and beetroot


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Very finely shred quarter of the red cabbage. Wash, peel and coarsely grate the beetroot. Peel, halve and finely slice the red onion. Cut the apple into quarter's, cut out the core, then thinly slice. Put the cabbage, onion, apple, allspice, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar and a scant grating of nutmeg into heavy-based pan, one with a lid.
  • Step 2

    Add a little 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. If it is done before your gratin, it can be reheated to serve.
  • Step 3

    While the cabbage cooks, cut the leek in half (save half for use in other meals). Slice lengthways in half, then finely shred and wash well to remove any grit. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Add the leek and fry on a low heat for 8 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching.
  • Step 4

    Add a splash of water if it looks like it might. Meanwhile, wash, peel and trim the base of the Brussels sprouts. Cut them in half through the root, then into thin shreds, discarding the stalk base. Wash and finely shred 8-10 sage leaves, depending on size. Preheat oven to 210°C/Gas Mark 6.
  • Step 5

    After 8 minutes, add the sprouts and sage leaves to the leek. Fry, stirring, for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the borlotti beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. Roughly chop half the pack of chestnuts into half's or quarter's.
  • Step 6

    Add the borlotti, chestnuts, cheese, three quarters of the pot of cream and 4 tablespoons of water to the mix. Season with a little salt and pepper (not too much salt, as the cheese is quite salty). Bubble for 1 minute. Stir in the mustard. If your pan is ovenproof leave the mix in it.
  • Step 7

    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.

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