Rotkohl – Braised red cabbage

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.


Ingredients sans red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper

Ingredients sans red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper

(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.

Onions into the pan

Onions into the pan

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.

Browned and sweated onions

Browned and sweated onions

Sliced and ready to go

Sliced and ready to go

Peeled and cored granny smiths

Peeled and cored granny smiths

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.

Cabbage & diced apples added to onions in pan

Cabbage & diced apples added to onions in pan

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.

Bay leaves and seasonings added

Bay leaves and seasonings added

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.




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One Response to “Rotkohl – Braised red cabbage”

  1. Rouladen, a beef recipe | Food Garden Kitchen Says:

    […] and Cooking in North Carolina « 7 July Weekly Update Rotkohl – Braised red cabbage […]

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