The beloved side dish found in virtually every restaurant and home throughout Germany and I grew up eating this on a regular basis with Sunday roasts and Rouladen. Here is a thoroughly authentic recipe for this delicious way of preparing red cabbage.
I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a long time and just kept forgetting. A few comments from German food fans reminded me, so here it is – the quintessential German red cabbage side dish!
Rotkohl has been around for, well, forever. And that’s how it usually works, doesn’t it? Great dishes stand the test of time. And Rotkohl takes the humble red cabbage and transforms it into a wonderful dish that traditionally accompanies beef roasts, Rouladen and Sauerbraten. For any of you who have traveled to Germany, you’ll remember this delicious dish. This recipe is like the Rotkohl you enjoyed at your favorite German restaurants or in your favorite German homes.
Rotkohl is also a great way to eat those healthy veggies. Red cabbage is packed with a ton of health benefits. It’s low in fat and high in fiber (ie, a “smart carb”), it’s full of vitamin K which has been shown to help prevent nerve damage leading to Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as help with mental functioning (ie, brain food), it’s high in sulfur which improves the health of your skin (ie, natural beautifier), it’s high in vitamin C which helps remove toxins in the body (ie, great for detox), it’s been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, helps regulate blood sugar, and because it’s high in potassium it can also help regulate blood pressure.
So cabbage, especially red cabbage, is one of man’s best friends – a superfood. And here is a delicious, traditional German way of preparing it. Butter, apples, vinegar, red currant jam, bay leaves, cloves and juniper berries are some of the ingredients that mingle to include this unforgettable side dish. Just be sure to make time for the slow cooking process. It’s that long simmering process that’s key to the final outcome.
Let’s get started!
Finely chop the red cabbage.
Finely chop the onions.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook the onions until lightly caramelized, 7-10 minutes.
Add the red cabbage and cook for 5 minutes.
Dice the apple.
Add the diced apple along with the broth, bay leaf, whole cloves, juniper berries, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more broth if needed. Mix a tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of water until dissolved and stir it into the cabbage. Add salt, sugar and vinegar to taste.
Traditional German Rotkohl (Sweet/Sour Red Cabbage)
- 1 1/2 pounds red cabbage ,very thinly sliced
- 1 large yellow onion ,finely diced
- 1 large Granny Smith or other semi-tart apple ,peeled, cored and diced
- 1/4 cup butter (paleo: use grass fed or oil, vegans: use oil)
- 2 tablespoons red currant jam ,or cherry preserves (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole cloves
- 3 juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten free and paleo: omit)
- 2 tablespoons water
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook the onions until just beginning to brown, 7-10 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apple, broth, bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries, red currant jam, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more broth if needed. Combine the flour and water until dissolved and stir into the Rotkohl. Simmer for another minute. Add more salt, sugar and vinegar to taste.