Saturday, December 07, 2013

Rotkohl - German Red Cabbage

I just realized that I haven't bored you to tears with my family Thanksgiving photos yet.  Come to think of it, I still haven't bored you to tears with my family Halloween photos either...or the rest of the photos from Minneapolis...or my blackmail photo of Sheldon.  Sheesh, I'm a slacker, but you already knew that.

Thanksgiving did make me think to post about one of our family traditions though.  My maternal grandmother was born in Silesia, Prussia, in a town that is now in modern day Poland.  Grandma Toni was an awesome cook.  She supported herself as a cook when she was living in New York City after she first immigrated between the world wars.  Then again later after her husband passed away she worked as a cook for the Bluebird both at their campus location (long gone) and the downtown location.  She made amazing wedding cakes that looked like they were draped in lace.  She also introduced our family to foods from her homeland.  One of these foods is rotkohl.

Rotkohl is a braised cabbage dish popular in Germany.  I've seen and tasted a dozen different varieties, but Toni's simple recipe has always been my favorite.  My family is divided into two groups when it comes to red cabbage: people who love rotkohl, and people who think it is an abomination.  I've found that cabbage and vinegar have that polarizing effect.  These factions also have similar feelings about sauerkraut, which, while both being cabbage based, is a completely different animal.  It is a holiday tradition to serve rotkohl alongside the turkey and stuffing.  I prefer it to cranberry sauce as a Thanksgiving side.

If you are a member you can log in and view Grandma Toni's rotkohl recipe in my recipe box, look for me under my username The Suzzzz.  If you don't have a free tastykitchen account you can find the recipe by clicking here.  I'm also posting it below.  I think what I love about this recipe is that it is a great side dish to make ahead of time and just reheat on the day you are serving it, saving you time on the day of a party or big dinner.  This also freezes beautifully.

Grandma Toni's Rotkohl/Red Cabbage: Makes approximately 10 to 12 servings

  • 1 head Red Cabbage
  • 2 whole Apples
  • 8 whole Cloves
  • 8 whole Allspice
  • 2 whole Bay Leaves
  • ½ cups White Vinegar
  • ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt 

Remove the core of the cabbage and then finely slice it. Remove the core of the apple and finely chop it. Combine cabbage, apples, vinegar, and sugar in a stock pot or large sauce pan and stir to combine.  In a tea ball or empty tea bag combine the spices, add tea ball or bag to pot and cover it with cabbage.  Bring the pot just barely to a boil over high heat, stirring to prevent scorching, then reduce to low heat.  Simmer over low heat for at least an hour. Let rest off the heat, covered in the fridge overnight for the flavors to develop.  When you are ready to serve, add the salt and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.  Remove tea ball or bag and discard the spices.

PR - If you are in the Cache Valley area and are looking for empty tea bags or small or large tea infusers, you can find both bags and a wide variety (all shapes and sizes) of diffusers at Kitchen Kneads.  This is an unpaid and unsolicited recommendation, they don't even know I exist, I just love that I can find what I need there.

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