The holidays are over (for now) and things are getting back to normal – until we are gearing up for the next holidays, which are not too far off. This was a dish I brought to this year’s thanksgiving holiday dinner; it is a bit of different, interesting and still fabulous side dish that compliments any holiday dinner. It is a traditional German holiday feast or Sunday roast side --- sauteed spiced red cabbage, based on my mom’s recipe here.
Spiced red cabbage with cloves, red wine, and red currant jam
(makes a large pot, about sides for 10 people)
- 1 medium sized head of red cabbage (ca. 2-3 pounds)
- 1 red onion, diced finely
- 1 TB butter or ghee (my mom’s recipe actual calls for bacon fat)
- 1 medium sized tart apple, finely diced (not peeled but core removed)
- 1/2 TB whole cloves (or 1/2 ts ground cloves, whole one are better)
- 1/2 TB juniper berries
- 1/2 cup of red wine (e.g. cabernet sauvignon or a good table blend)
- 1/4 cup of apple juice (if not using red wine, use more 1/2 cup of apple juice)
- salt, pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 TB red current jam or black currant jelly(e.g. Bonne Maman or Schwartau)
- 1/2 TB beef broth concentrate, diluted in 2-3 TB of water
- optional: 1-2 TB aged good balsamic vinegar
Prep: quarter the red cabbage head, remove the core, and slice the quarters really thinly with a sharp knife (or use a mandoline) – the finer shredded, the better.
In a large cast iron pot, dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter or clarified butter and add the diced onion, and saute until slightly browned. Now, add the shredded cabbage, the cloves, juniper berries, the bay leaf, and the diced apple to the pot, and mix all ingredients well.
Add the red wine and the apple juice, and close with the tight fitting lid (there is no other liquid and make sure the steam from the gabbage does not evaporate but helps steam the cabbage). Turn heat on medium-low, and cook for ca. 20-25 min depending on how ‘crunchy’ or ‘well-done’ you like the cabbage to be cooked. Nevertheless, stir once in a while to make sure it does not burn on the bottom. If it gets too dry, add more apple juice.
Once the cabbage is tender, turn the heat to low, and add the red or black currant jelly or both, remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste, and a half TB of beef broth concentrate (or bouillon) dissolved in some hot water. Mix well, and add a glug of balsamic vinegar to round out the flavor. Enjoy!