Red cabbage casserole is a wonderful side dish and in England, it’s traditionally only really eaten at Christmas, and perhaps at barbecues. But, red cabbage casserole had a word and it believes that it should be thought of more often than Snoopy thought about peas, as do I. So off I went and bought un chou rouge and set about putting it with something which I haven’t made in ages: parcel-wrapped chicken.

Didn’t I tell you I’ve had a thing about cooking things in parcels recently? Well here’s more proof to that statement, so shoot me, it works like a dream. The recipe I got from sitting down with my brain, trying to remember the tastes of Christmas lunch back in ol’ blighty, and after tucking in, I was fully satisfied with the result, yet also thought that a little trimmed smoked bacon wouldn’t go amiss.

3 free range chicken breasts
1/2 red cabbage, core removed and chunkily chopped
50ml balsamic vinegar
20ml red wine vinegar
3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 clove of garlic
1 apple, I used a crisp granny smith apple
1tbsp crushed fennel
1 red onion, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1tbsp olive oil

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (there is something magical about this temperature).
– Stir the garlic, olive oil and fennel seeds into a saucepan, stir until the garlic has began to turn.
– Add the onion and continue to cook until it’s become a bit sticky, then stir in the apple, cloves and cabbage chunks.
– After a couple of minutes of turning together, twist in some fresh black pepper, nutmeg, vinegars and a pinch of salt.
– Put the lid on and continue to cook on a low heat for 35 minutes, making sure to stir every so often.
– At around the 10 minute mark, mix together the mustard and lemon juice.
– Lay the chicken on 2 pieces of baking parchment, pierce each breast and then evenly drizzle the mustard and lemon sauce over each one.
– Fold the baking parchment over twice and around 12 minutes before the cabbage is ready to be done, put it in the oven to bake.
– When the chicken is bubbling and cooked and the cabbage just looks so damn good that you canny wait anymore, arrange in a warmed dish and serve.

Happy-it’s-nearly-Friday to you all.