Recipe: Red Cabbage, German style

This recipe comes from Dr Oetker’s German Cooking Today, with a few little tweaks by me.  I don’t know how to describe it, because to me it’s the thing you do with red cabbage.  (Apparently, there is no other thing you do with red cabbage) It’s sweet, very tangy from the vinegar, and goes really well with rich things like veal sausages or duck or, of course, frankfurters.  To me, it feels almost like a pickle or a chutney – it has that sort of condimenty nature. 

Your Shopping List

800g red cabbage (one small red cabbage)
3 nice apples – I would use eating apples like sundowners or maybe pink lady or jonathon)
2 onions
50g butter
2 bay leaves
5 cloves
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
125ml water

Now what will you do with it?

Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it in quarters, and remove the core (but ideally not your fingers).  Cut the cabbage into fine strips.

Chop the onion, and peel, quarter and dice the apples.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and sautée the onion until soft.  Add the cabbage and apples and continue to sautée.  You may have to add the cabbage a bit at a time, because the sad fact of this recipe is that a saucepan large enough to fit everything uncooked makes it all look rather scant once cooked.

Once the apples and cabbages are beginning to soften a little, add all the other ingredients and stir well.  Make sure the liquid is simmering, then turn down the heat to low, and cook slowly for about an hour and a half until everything is soft and the liquid has reduced a bit.  You should probably stir it occasionally, but you can wander off and leave it unattended for a fair while unless you think the liquid is getting low (in which case, pop the lid on to retain it).  Taste at the end, because it may need more salt or more sugar.

This makes a lot of red cabbage, but it does keep well in the freezer and also in the fridge, because of all the sugar and vinegar.

Serve with a roast, or, if you are me, with mashed potatoes, garlicky green beans, sausages and mustard.  Perfect on a winter’s night, and such a colourful plate!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments for “Recipe: Red Cabbage, German style

  1. treeandleaf
    May 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    The Doktor Oetker recipe is the absolute standard German/ Austrian method. (The whole cookbook is a good guide to the classic German domestic kitchen, it’s what most Germans learned to cook with – the recipes aren’t necessarily very exciting, but a good place to start.)

    And yes, it’s absolutely The Thing You Do With Red Cabbage to me, too.

    • May 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Regarding Dr Oetker’s book that’s what I was told by the friend who bought it for me. From what I could find out online, the recipes really do go back to the 1920s and 1930s in some cases, and the red cabbage one has clearly been around for a while – with good reason, in my view.

      And it was so absolutely what I needed for dinner last night, too!

  2. Iestyn
    May 26, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I tend to serve it hot, sauted along with Wieswurst/Bratwurst, or sauted with orange juice with roast duck maryland or breast. Yum.

    • May 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

      I can see that working well. And isn’t it interesting that despite different cooking methods, one still ends up serving red cabbage with something sweet/acidic and a fatty meat? That’s clearly what red cabbage is *for*.

      • Iestyn
        May 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        To be clearer: the recipe goes first to preserve, and the saute heats and adds a little more flavour. And yes, it cuts the fattyness beautifully.

Leave a Reply to Iestyn Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.