Sunday, November 7, 2010
If you ever ate a few lunches in a French cantine (or with a French family), chances are that you were served du chou rouge râpé. More than once. Together with carottes râpées or a salade de betteraves, chou rouge râpé is a pillar of French crudités, especially in the Fall and Winter when other vegetables such as cucumbers or tomatoes are off season.
Interestingly enough, French people don't eat much cooked chou rouge whereas they will eat a lot of sauerkraut in the traditional choucroute. I have personally never made a recipe calling for cooked red cabbage (I know, I have to work on a borscht recipe) but enjoyed it the few times I ate it at friends' or in restaurants (yeah, I am the kind of person who would order cooked red cabbage!!)
Since I have had too much chou rouge râpé growing up, I have not been serving it much to my children. One day though, I found a nice chou rouge and decided that it was high time for my children to be introduced to what is a pillar of French cuisine. Since they like carottes râpées and coleslaw, I figured that it would be relatively easy to have them try du chou rouge. But because I was anticipating some resistance, I mixed it up with carottes râpées. And like for my carottes râpées, I used the finest blade I had on my food processor so as to achieve a very thin, easy to chew, consistency. I served it with a vinaigrette, a traditional French dressing for crudités. The verdict? Well, it was not a franc succès but my kids did eat more than the required "try-spoon".
Because cabbage season is in full blast now, I am likely to serve them chou rouge râpé again soon. I like it more today than when it was served to us in the cantine... so hopefully my kids will get to like it as well. But no matter how much I would like to start cooking chou rouge, I think that I'll take the path of least resistance and keep with its raw version for the time being. At least with my kids. And even if kids are more likely to eat colored vegetables, between red and white, I'd rather see them enjoy sauerkraut! It will be a more useful taste to have for our future trips to France! Same with chou rouge râpé! So if you are planning a trip to France with your kids, even 10 years down the road, start feeding them chou rouge râpé today! Bon Appétit!