I thought I knew pretty much every food preference of my wife’s. The other day we’re at the farmer’s market and she says “Let’s get a red cabbage.” I’m thinking, o.k. I’ve never cooked red cabbage. “I didn’t even know you liked red cabbage.” And she says “I love red cabbage!” Well there you have it. Twenty years later I find out she loves red cabbage. The only way I can remember it used is shredded into salads. As it turns out there is a famous German Christmas dish with red cabbage and tart apples. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any tart apples on hand. So here is what I came up with:
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion halved and thinly sliced
1 small red cabbage quartered, core removed and shredded
1/3 c. Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
11/2 tbs. sugar (I know but you really need it to balance out the vinegar)
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
Salt and pepper
If you have a 12″ cast iron skillet used it, otherwise a large pot will do.
Heat the skillet to medium high. Add the olive oil and onions and sauté until glistening and starting to soften. About 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and gently fold and stir until wilted. About 5 minutes. Add the vinegar then sprinkle the sugar on top. Gently stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cloves, mustard seeds, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cook until the cabbage is velvety soft and deep purple in color, stirring occasionally. About 10 minutes. Yum.
Be careful with salting this dish. Start with a ½ tsp. Let it dissolve into the dish and then check flavors. Add another pinch at a time if needed. The dish wants to taste sour/sweet/savory. Salt only enough to bring these flavors together.
Here is the German Christmas red cabbage recipe I didn’t try:
German Christmas Red Cabbage
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup sliced green apples
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Place butter, cabbage, apples, and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and water, and season with salt, pepper, and clove.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cabbage is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.