In keeping with the theme of our sauerbraten recipe for a typical German meal that we posted yesterday, we wanted to add in a recipe today for a recommended side dish for that main dish. Red cabbage is a very popular vegetable dish in Germany and not only can it be served with Sauerbraten, but also with Rouladen or Roasted Duck.
This is a side dish I never had until my first trip to Germany when I was a young lad of 18, and at first I thought it unsightly. I was reluctant to try it, and to make the plunge, I had mashed potatoes on the side. I mixed the two together and I was so pleasantly surprised!
It was delicious with the recipe my Mother-In-Law had used and I have not looked back since! I will always take this side dish over many others that may be on offer. Since that early time, I also have learned to make it myself and even come up with my own version (below).
The recipe is easy and cooking preparation also. As one of the first German recipes I tried, I was a little nervous, but it turned out fine, our guests loved it! These happened to be Americans and they had not had the dish before.
I would recommend this over other side dishes that people might suggest, it is a hearty vegetable that will go well with a main heavy meat. I would also suggest going with mashed potatoes (fresh, not powdered!).
Note you also do not need any fancy tool or machine to prepare this. A simple cutting board, a good knife or two if you want, and a pan that is designed to cook such vegetables are what is required. A colander is helpful to wash the vegetables and a spatula and spoon perhaps too. That is about it. All these you likely have in your kitchen already!
Here are the ingredients:
3/4 – 1 kg / 1.6 – 2.2 lbs red cabbage
40 g / 1.4 oz butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium onion
2 – 3 tart apples
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 – 4 cloves
2 – 3 bay leaves
1 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons blueberry or red currant jam (optional)
First wash the cabbage, removing the trunk and slicing it into fine strips. I generally will cut the cabbage in half from the trunk, and cut that trunk portion out for each half of the cabbage. If you want to make it even easier, cut the cabbage into quarters and cut out the trunk portion in each.
Then you will brown the sugar off in butter until it is a light brown in color. Watch the heat for this step, it can be easy to burn the mixture unless you stir and have the heat not too high. It should go fast, so I recommend staying right at the pan when you do this step.
Next, you add into the pan of browned sugar and butter your finely chopped onions and the peeled apples that are cut into small cubes. Of course, you will use the cutting board to do your chopping and cubing, and the colander to wash them prior to that.
Sauté this mixture for a few minutes until the onions become a bit clear. Stir almost constantly, again you do not want to burn the mixture, rather you are bringing out the flavors of the spices and apples.
After that, add the red cabbage and mix it all to combine everything. Mix this using a wooden or silicone spoon or spatula so you can mix everything in the sugar mixture thoroughly with the cabbage.
As soon as it is mixed well, you will add in a little of the red wine…This helps keep the color remaining red. You can also have a drink of the wine at this point because you are almost done!
The next to last step is to season the cabbage with salt, add a little more of the red wine, plus the bay leaves and cloves. So do not drink all the wine, save some for this step and the last step too!
Steam the cabbage covered using medium heat until it is tender, it should take about 45 – 60 minutes. I have a look from time to time and give it a stir, but that is likely my own nervousness about not screwing it up, so this is optional.
The last step after the cabbage is tender (try it to see for yourself it IS tender) is to dust the cabbage with flour (thickens the sauce), and season it up to your taste, maybe adding in some more red wine (what you have left over) and you can even add in a bit of vinegar if needed. To offset the somewhat acidic taste if the sugar mixture has not done it, you can also add just a little jam to enhance the taste in this step. You are looking for a slightly sweet taste but still having a bite to it.
You are ready to serve your lovingly prepared cabbage dish now with your main dish.
Here is what it should look like:
I will be adding in recipes that will go together for typical German meals through the posts. They will be searchable by tags, so you can quickly find what you need, or the alternative is to just go by the date they are posted since several will go together.
Do not forget that we have the proper traditional dishes to serve these delicious German recipes with for your guests. We often have sales on and you can get sets and pieces at reduced prices. Build your own German set of dishware a little at a time or buy them all at once, we are here to help!
We also have a variety of other gifts, mementos and souvenirs from Germany for your enjoyment or for gifts for the ones that mean the most to you. If there is something that you would like us to source or fine for you, drop us a line (email) and we will do our best. We are right here in Germany so can often get what you are looking for!
Dave : )