Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

Several years ago I was asked to cook a formal Christmas dinner for 95 people.  I was given a committe of 5 women and a limited budget of $250.00.  I'm not joking.  I worked on that menu with my small allotted budget for a long time and by shopping wisely (planning the menu around seaonal and on-sale ingredients) and making every thing from scratch; my committee and I were able to perform a miracle.  We served apple glazed roast pork, garlic mashed potatoes, a pomegranate romaine salad, homemade dinner rolls, 4 layer candied-cranberry chocolate cake frosted with whipped creme fraiche, and this German red cabbage. One of the women on the committee had lived in Germany.  When presented with my menu, she was convinced that NO ONE would like or even eat the rotkohl.  I stuck to my guns, we served the cabbage, and guess which one of us was right?  Out of the 95 plates that the servers returned to the kitchen at the end of the meal, only ONE had a tiny bit of cabbage left on the plate.  Those plates were licked clean, I tell you.  People kept coming into the kitchen and asking what we had put in that cabbage dish. What's not to like about bacon, apples, brown sugar, and onions?
This German specialty is great with pork, chicken; even German Sausage.  We love this at our house.  Cabbage is inexpensive in season and it's a colorful addition to any plate.  This recipe is even better if made the day before serving.  Next time you need a colorful side dish to serve with pork, give this a try.  Last time I made this, Rachel told me that one recipe didn't look like it was enough.   Did I mention that we all really like this cabbage?

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)
¼ lb. of bacon, finely diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1small head of red cabbage (about 8 cups finely chopped)
2 large apples, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of ground cloves
½ cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of water (or more as needed to keep the cabbage from sticking to the pan while cooking)

In a large heavy kettle or Dutch oven, cook the bacon on low heat until the fat is rendered. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and heat until the mixture simmers. Turn to low and continue to simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the cabbage from sticking to the kettle. Add water as necessary.  Most of the liquid will simmer off. This is best made the day before and reheated just before serving.

Serves eight.

This is linked to Friday Pot Luck.



11 comments:

  1. wow, that sounds delicious!
    i wonder if my families mind will change about cabbage after i make this for them - i'll let you know.

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  2. Bonnie, As I read all about your adventurous eating, I realize that I am in a rut. I need to start thinking "outside the box" when it comes to eating, especially vegetables. I have the feeling I'm missing out!
    I wish I could have been one of the guests at the dinner:)

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  3. I love German red cabbage so I'll have to try this recipe. Hats off to you for tackling that feast. Hope we'll be seeing that chocolate cake posted here sometime.

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  4. My hat goes off to you! who expects to be able to serve any meal for under $3 a person? Thats just crazy!
    I haven't cooked much (read: at all) with red cabbage. I really should fix that and make this recipe. It sounds great!

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  5. The first time I ever had German Red Cabbage was at a restaurant in Vail, CO. It was absolutely mouth watering. After a couple years of searching (before Internet and Google) I found a recipe called Rode Kool. It's a tradition for us on Halloween. (a boring story why it's on Halloween). Do you know anything about the difference in spelling? Recipe is almost identical.

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  6. Hi Lea Ann,

    I do happen to know about the difference in the spelling. Rode Kool is the Dutch spelling. Rotkohl is German. There are some similarities in the two languages and I do believe the the cabbage preparation is also very similar. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. Thanks Bonnie! So glad I asked.

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  8. It looks like a great side dish.. I would finish it off my plate too if I was there.

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  9. Wunderbar! Und sehr schön bilder.

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  10. Red cabbage - yum! Our church has a traditional German lunch every October along with our bazaar & we serve red cabbage (we cooked 14 heads this year and served 200+). I'm going to have to try your recipe (mine doesn't include bacaon). Thanks for posting your recipe!

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  11. This is our favorite way to eat cabbage! My Omi used to make it for use years ago but it has been quite some time since we've had it. I great red cabbage in my garden this year with the intention of making it and this has reminded me :) Do you know if you can can this? I would love to be able to preserve it :)

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