About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010
Braised Red Cabbage with Apple

Every now and then, a dish comes along that really makes you sit up and pay attention, its taste and texture producing a glorious symphony in the mouth.

Some very dear friends first introduced me to the wonderful combination of red cabbage braised with apple and it was love at first bite. I got the recipe from them and it has since become a firm favourite.

They called it rotkohl, which is German for red cabbage and indeed one of my friends is from good German rootstock, so too this recipe. Being from that region, rotkohl has an affinity for pork and goes well with either roasted pork or pan fried chops. A roll filled with this, a bratwurst sausage and a smear of mustard is a thing of indulgent beauty too.

Though it can be made with oil, the very best braised red cabbage gains its smooth character from lard, goose or duck fat are also good alternatives. We make it both with and without spices, cinnamon and cloves work well as does a bay leaf or two.

Any spare wine, red or white, is a worthwhile addition as the acidity helps with the colour; in a neat bit of cabbage chemistry, you'll notice a definite change when adding the vinegar. If by accident it tastes a little too sour from the vinegar, the dish can be adjusted with some sugar.

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple
(serves 6)

1/2 red cabbage
3 tablespoons lard or oil
1 or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
wineglass of red or white wine or water
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
5cm stick cinnamon or good pinch of powder
3 cloves or small pinch of powder
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh ground pepper

Discard any tough outer cabbage leaves, cut out the core and slice as thinly as possible with a mandoline or sharp knife. Melt the lard or oil in a large pot and heat until almost smoking. Add the shredded cabbage and stir constantly until wilted. Add the red wine vinegar, wine or water and stir until the cabbage changes colour. Add the apple, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Put the lid on the pot, lower the heat to a bare simmer and leave to braise for an idle hour or so, giving an occasional stir to help the apple melt in and check for water, if too dry, add some more. When done to your liking, serve.
  posted at 8:03 pm

At 10:10 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Shucks we just had the last sausage last night ... wonder if the store has another;-)
Gorgeous red!

At 9:22 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said...

That looks great Neil. I've bookmarked this recipe and shall try to make it. I love things with a sweet/sour component.

At 9:31 pm, Blogger Michael said...

Yum... This is a fave of mine, but I've never thought of adding spices before (but have added a tsp of brown sugar) - will definitely give this a go!

At 10:56 am, Blogger Anh said...

I wish my mother had learned to cook cabbage better so I would appreciate it more. I just read through Maggie Beer's chapter on cabbage and she has similar recipe like yours! Mpw you have tested it, I'm keen to try.

At 10:55 pm, Anonymous Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This looks fantastic Neil and just like my favourite kind of red cabbage! I'm going to try this recipe come Winter when roast duck and goose are on the menu! :)

At 8:44 am, Blogger Gigi said...

This looks just beautiful. Red cabbage is one of my favorite things, but beyond a really nice southwestern coleslaw I'm never really sure how to prepare it. I love the sound of the combination of cabbage with apples and cinnamon, and will definitely give it a go for the next round of pork chops!

At 6:25 am, Blogger Gigi said...

Hi Neil! Had to pop back to tell you ~ I made this over the weekend to serve with a garlic and fennel pork roast and it was just terrific. I was afraid there might be too many intense flavors on one plate, but the sweetness of the cabbage was precisely was called for. Thanks for another great recipe. :)

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