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story.lead_photo.caption Rotkohl — braised red cabbage with onion, apple, vinegar and a touch of sugar. - Photo by Kelly Brant

Today, if counting by Wednesdays, is the 10th anniversary of my first Front Burner column.

Can you believe it? Ten years already. It sure doesn't feel like a whole decade has passed.

In that first column I wrote, "I strongly believe that if you can read and follow instructions, you can cook. If you're willing to experiment — and sometimes fail — you can be a great cook."

I still believe that. I hope you believe it too.

I also believe it's important to revisit foods we don't like. Especially the vegetables.

Ten years ago I would not have written a column about cabbage. Or my attempts to get my husband to eat it.

This is not an ode to cabbage.

I like cabbage. I don't love it.

I eat it on tacos. I enjoy it in soups. I mix it in salads. But my favorite is German-style rotkohl or braised red cabbage.

My husband, on the other hand, doesn't like cabbage. At. All.

Occasionally I can talk him into a bite, but I've yet to find a cabbage dish that he goes for a second bite.

So that means when I make a batch of cabbage soup or rotkohl, I'm the only one eating it. And that gets tiresome. I have nothing against leftovers, but I don't want to eat the same food five days in a row. Not even a food I love.

This is a scaled down version of the rotkohl from The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking by Mimi Sheraton.

This recipe is different from the sweet-and-sour cabbage that I wrote about for celebrating Oktoberfest in that it does not contain alcohol and is less sweet. It also adds onion and apples for a richer flavor. Sheraton doesn't call for them, but I like the added flavor of caraway seeds.

It still makes a lot for one person — 2 generous cups — but not so much that I tire of it or, worse, have to toss some of it out. The measurements are such that you could try cutting it in half, but I worry there wouldn't be enough liquid. If you try it, let me know.


1 pound red cabbage, (about ½ small head)

1 ½ tablespoons butter or vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar

½ sweet-tart apple, cored and chopped

½ yellow onion, minced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


¼ to ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, optional

1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth

Caraway seeds, to taste

Remove core and any thick, tough ribs from the cabbage. Using a sharp knife, cut cabbage into slivers, no thicker than ¼-inch; set aside. You should have about 4 heaping cups.

In a Dutch oven or braising pan over medium-low heat, add butter or vegetable oil. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook, stirring, until mixture is light golden brown. Add the apple and onion, cover, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the cabbage and stir well to thoroughly coat the cabbage with the fat. Pour vinegar over the cabbage and mix thoroughly. Cover and braise 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cabbage is bright purple and beginning to soften. Season with a generous pinch of salt, the caraway seeds, if using, and add 1 cup of the stock or broth, cover, and cook 1 ½ hours more, stirring occasionally and adding broth as needed, until cabbage is completely tender, but not mushy.

Makes about 2 cups.

Food on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: Rotkohl mixes apples, onions, cabbage


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