BRAISED RED CABBAGE

3 1/2 lb red cabbage (1 medium head), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise
½ cup chopped pancetta (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar                                                                                                          ½ cup water
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar                                                                                           8 crushed juniper berries
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pancetta with olive oil in heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and  then increase heat to moderate and cook onions, stirring, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cabbage, vinegar, water, juniper berries, brown sugar, salt, and pepper and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 1 1/4 hours.