Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon)


At some level, I’m quite in touch with my German heritage. Cabbage, whether braised or pickled, frequently graced our table while I was growing up.

As winter approaches and the farmer’s market thins out, I become drawn to the vegetables that are still available. Even in southern California we have seasonality with our produce (despite the fact that tomatoes are still available).

Angela dislikes cabbage and so it takes several weeks before I’m willing to indulge myself. It’s hard to make just a little bit of cabbage and it takes time to properly cook it. I also need to prepare myself for it.

My particular preference is for the red varieties. To me, they have a deeper flavor. I specifically remember having some outstanding braised red cabbage in Germany (as well as excellent sauerkraut); I barely remember any sausage or pork roast that I ate. That may give you some idea of my appreciation of good cabbage.

I bought this copy of Saveur in the airport to read on our flight to Florida for Christmas (and then our unexpected “vacation” in Milwaukee). While looking through it, I happened upon this recipe for braised red cabbage. And, then and there, I knew I’d have to make it for myself.

So what that it serves 6 to 8? I apparently will have to eat leftover cabbage for the next week (I found out today that it works pretty well stuffed into a pita with leftover pork and reheated). Sometimes dealing with the leftovers is worth the initial splurge.


Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon)
adapted from Saveur, December 2007

1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 tbsp sugar
1 yellow onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and roughly choped
1/3 cup port
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 large head of red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup red currant jelly

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar and cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the onions to the dutch oven and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the apples, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the apples are soft, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add the port, vinegar, and cabbage to the dutch oven. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken and beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high to bring to a simmer. Cover, and decrease heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours until the cabbage is tender.
  7. Uncover and stir in the red current jelly. Season with salt and pepper and cook for4 to 5 minutes more.
  8. Serve with roast pork.

Serves 6 to 8.


1 Response to “Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon)”

  1. 1 Sandra McNally January 17, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    yummmm…..often make this dish as my Oma did; minus the port but add red wine if on hand and add cloves and nutmeg. I live in Panama in the winter but Canada in the summer so am lucky to have fresh veggies on hand yearround but this is so darned good I make it even in the summer. My SO, El Gato, like your Angela, is not a cabbage fan so I freeze this in ziploc bags. And isn’t it a pretty dish, too? Also, red cabbage with lime juice, cilantro and oil makes a gorgeous accompaniment to fish tacos! Even El Gato eats it then.
    Stumbled on your blog and have been entertained this past hour–thanks.

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