Authentice German Red Cabbage – Rotkohl
A typical German main dish has the components: Meat, potatoes (carbs) and a vegetable side. Red Cabbage is a frequent side for a Sunday roast but if you think of it as a sour, crunchy thing from a store bought jar or can, then you’ve never had authentic German red cabbage, made from scratch!
My mom was more the kind of cook who wanted things to be easy and fast. She simply opened a jar from the grocery when it came to red cabbage. Therefore, in my childhood, I never knew that red cabbage can taste really great … and that’s why I wasn’t a fan of it. This changed at a Christmas celebration where it was freshly cooked and tasted just the way it should. It took me years to find the right recipe. I tried everything (most time with red cabbage from a jar): I added sugar, I added cinnamon, I added apple sauce, … it never came out right. I found a recipe with junipers and lots of vinegar and tried it just to find out that the result was tasting like … red cabbage from the jar!
Then a few years ago my German friend Suse sent me a cooking journal to Texas. It contained recipes for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and it had a recipe for “Traditional Red Cabbage”. Since I was still on the quest for the perfect red cabbage recipe I tried it and: YES! That was exactly what I’ve been searching for! It’s not even difficult but I guess with industrialisation and jars at the supermarket, people simply forgot how to cook this.
I’ll definitely teach my kids how to cook it since they love it so much … and I’ll not live forever.
When to eat Red Cabbage
The best pairing with it is a roast or poultry like a goose or duck. I am sure it will also go very well with a turkey, too (think of your next Thanksgiving!). You can have it with potatoes but it tastes best if you have dumplings with it!
Since it takes some time to cook red cabbage and it is best combined with food that also takes some work, it is a good idea to cook a large batch of it on a rainy weekend. Then you just freeze it and let it appear magically on a lucky day with a delicious (feast) meal.
When freezing red cabbage I put it in Ziploc bags and make them really flat, so it can thaw in almost no time.
Watch the video for instructions