Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage)
Rotkohl is a traditional German dish that is often served with rouladen. See my rouladen post/recipe here.
This “recipe” (I don’t really cook with exact measurements unless I’m baking) is one I came up with, based largely on some tips I read about on Epicurious and my memory of the rotkohl my mother made. Total braising time is about 90 minutes and it’s important you allow it to go this long in order to marry all of the flavors together and end with tender cabbage.
(Please note: I forgot to include the red wine vinegar bottle and the salt and pepper in the picture).
A large head of red cabbage, thinly sliced – you can do this by hand or, like me, use the slicing blade on your food processor. (The picture shows 3 smaller heads of homegrown red cabbage and half a head of a small store-bought cabbage. I ended up not using one of the homegrown heads; I estimate the volume I made was one large head of store-bought red cabbage).
2 small onions, diced (I usually use red onion – ½ of a large head – when making this dish but we just cured all of our homegrown sweet onions so I used them instead – the result was exactly the same, so use whatever type of onion you want)
2 small cored, peeled, and diced granny smith apples (or 1 large one). Must be a tart apple – do not use a sweeter apple in this recipe.
2 tablespoons butter
3 bay leaves
Ground cloves, to taste – I use about 4 pinches
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable broth (about 2/3 of a quart)
Dry hearty red wine, about 5 ounces
Red wine vinegar, large splash
I use a large (11”) covered skillet that’s about 3” deep when making this dish.
Melt the butter, add the onions, and cover. Sweat/brown the onions over medium heat (covering the skillet results in better sweating, less browning). Stir occasionally.
Once the onions are browned/sweated, add the cabbage and diced apples to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Add the bay leaves, salt, pepper, cloves, and enough vegetable broth to almost cover the mixture in the skillet. Stir. Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring once or twice.
Add the red wine, stir, and continue simmering (covered) for 15-20 minutes. Add a big splash of red wine vinegar, stir, and simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Do not allow the moisture to dry out at any point during the braising process – add more broth if necessary. However, at the end of the braising, you do not want too much liquid at the bottom of the skillet – allow some of the liquid to cook off before serving, if necessary. Remove the bay leaves before serving as well.