The pleasant sweetness of apples and cider complements fresh cabbage, and pecans add crunch. The cabbage is cooked only until it is barely tender, before it gets slick.

To turn this side dish into a warm, filling entree salad, add shredded roast chicken or browned slices of apple-chicken sausage, and crumble blue cheese over the top.

You can use a ripe, firm pear in place of the apple. You can also cook a thinly sliced fennel bulb along with the onion. Adapted from “The New Southern Garden Cookbook” by Sheri Castle (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Cider-Braised Cabbage With Apples and Pecans

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, halved from top to bottom and thinly sliced

ø cup apple cider (sweet or hard cider)

1 medium red cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded (about 12 cups)

2 large crisp apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

ø cup pecan halves or pieces

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cider, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the cabbage, apples, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is barely tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid boils away. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with the pecans and serve warm.

Makes about 12 cups (8 servings).

Per serving: 180 calories, 3g protein, 21g carbohydrates, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 520mg sodium, 4g dietary fiber, 13g sugar.