2000s Recipes + Menus

Guatemalan Red-Cabbage Relish (Curtido de Repollo Morado Guatemalteco)

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:40 min
June 2009
Presilla’s version of a popular Central American table condiment—delicious piled on top of tamales and enchiladas or eaten with beef—has a vegetal sweetness and a brightness that cuts the lushness of marinated slab bacon. Beet juice augments the color even more.
  • 1 (2- to 2 1/2-lb) red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeņos, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup beet juice from a can or jar of beets (not pickled; optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 tablespoons grated brown loaf sugar (piloncillo or panela) or 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted (see Tips)
  • Blanch cabbage in a large pot of salted boiling water 2 minutes. Drain well in a colander and cool. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with carrot, onion, jalapeņos, and bay leaves.
  • Whisk together vinegar, oil, lime juice, beet juice (if using), cilantro, loaf sugar, zest, allspice, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in a bowl until sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour over vegetables and toss well. Let stand at least 20 minutes for flavors to blend. Discard bay leaves.
  • Serve relish sprinkled with cumin seeds.
Cooks’ note:
  • Relish can be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Subscribe to Gourmet