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This German braised red cabbage recipe is delicious—and tastes even better the next day after the flavors mingle. Loganberry preserves and red currant jelly are more traditional in this dish, but can be harder to find—cranberry sauce makes an excellent substitute.

EatingWell.com, December 2022

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Credit: William Dickey

Recipe Summary

active:
55 mins
total:
1 hr 25 mins
Servings:
6
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Back in the days before imported fresh produce from warmer climates became available year-round in every supermarket, cabbage played an important role in German cooking. Properly stored in a cool place, a head of cabbage keeps for months, and it was one of the only vegetables that Germans ate during the long winter months. 

White cabbage (often called green cabbage) is used for everyday dishes such as soups, stews and stuffing, as well as for sauerkraut. It's often associated with poor people's cooking or survival food during wartime shortages in Germany. Red cabbage is quite different in the way it's used in German cuisine. It is mainly braised and served as a side dish together with potato dumplings to accompany pork roast or sauerbraten, marinated and braised beef that is traditionally served for Sunday lunch. Braised red cabbage is also the ubiquitous side dish for festive holiday meals such as stuffed goose, turkey or duck. In the fall, braised red cabbage is served with game like boar and venison.

Germany has highly diverse regional cuisines, but braised red cabbage is one of the few traditional dishes that are prepared almost exactly the same way all over Germany (although it has different names—in Bavaria it is called Blaukraut or "blue cabbage" whereas in the rest of Germany, it it called Rotkohl or Rotkraut, "red cabbage"). Vinegar is added for flavor and to help the cabbage maintain its bright color. Some recipes also call for finely diced or shredded tart apples. For a fruity touch, red currant jelly or loganberry preserves are stirred into the dish at the end of the preparation process.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine cabbage, vinegar and sugar in a large nonreactive bowl. Cover and let stand until the cabbage releases some liquid, about 30 minutes. 

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  • Heat oil in a large, nonreactive heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture and any accumulated liquid, wine, cloves and bay leaf. Stir until evenly combined. Cover and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently and checking for liquid. If the mixture seems dry, add water, 2 tablespoons at a time (the finished cabbage should be soft but not mushy or soupy).

  • Stir in jelly (or preserves or cranberry sauce), salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the cloves and bay leaf.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

about 1 cup
125 calories; protein 3g; carbohydrates 18g; dietary fiber 4g; sugars 11g; added sugar 2g; fat 5g; saturated fat 1g; mono fat 3g; poly fat 1g; vitamin a iu 1693IU; vitamin b3 niacin 1mg; vitamin c 88mg; folate 31mg; vitamin k 58mg; sodium 335mg; calcium 77mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 27mg; phosphorus 53mg; potassium 408mg; niacin equivalents 1mg; selenium 1mcg.
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