Sunday, December 25, 2011

German red cabbage

Our red cabbages are a little late this year, but they're ready now. They've formed nice tight heads, which are bug-free once the outer leaves have been stripped off. I use them for three main dishes: coleslaw, pickled red cabbage and German red cabbage (Rotkohl). Here's an easy way to do Rotkohl.


  • half a red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 glass apple juice
  • bay leaves
  • half a dozen cloves
  • seasoning
  • sugar (optional)
  • olive oil

Make sure the cabbage is clean and bug free. Quarter the cabbage and cut out the stalk. Slice the cabbage thinly. Chop the bacon, onion and apple.

Take a heavy cast-iron casserole or saucepan with a lid. Fry the bacon quickly in the oil, then add the onion and fry over a low heat for 5 mins. Add the chopped apple. When the onion is translucent, add the red cabbage, bay leaves, cloves and the wine and juice. Stir and simmer over a low heat with the lid on for 2-3 hours. Check from time to time to make sure there is still sufficient liquid, adding more juice or wine if necessary.

You may add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, depending on how sweet your juice, apple and wine are. Personally I prefer not to. When cooked, your Rotkohl should be glutinous, sweet and sour and caramelised. It goes really well with roast or barbecued meat and can be frozen. You could also use it as a filling for a jacket potato with a blob of sour cream.

The original German version would use goose fat instead of olive oil, would use good quality German Speck rather than bacon back rashers and would be heavier on the sugar and may add a small amount of flour to make a more glutinous dish, but my version is a little lighter.

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