We may be nearing the end of October, but its never too late to enjoy a German classic in celebration of Oktoberfest. I may be a bit behind the curve with this one, as the classic Bavarian festival traditionally takes place in late September, but those in the know know I like to get my wurst on from time to time.
I've never been a huge fan of sauerkraut, especially of the pre-packaged variety, so I opted to pair some lovely little bratwursts with a traditional Bavarian side: braised red cabbage. This gorgeous dish makes a fine bed, and wonderful foil, for the savory links. It has just enough acid to balance the porky goodness and just enough crunch to keep things interesting.
Braised Red Cabbage:
- 1 small head of red cabbage
- red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup of thinly sliced onion
- 1 1/2 cups non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar, agave nectar)
- 1 small onion, peeled and studded with 3 whole cloves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of Bavarian Seasoning, optional
- small pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
1. Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters, and remove the core from all sections. Using a very sharp knife, slice the cabbage into thin shreds, one quarter at a time. As soon as each section is sliced, place the shreds in a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of red wine vinegar, tossing to lightly coat. This will help preserve the vibrant color. Repeat until all cabbage is sliced and tossed with vinegar.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed, saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the cabbage and toss with tongs to coat. Continue tossing gently until the cabbage begins to wilt a bit, about 2 to 3 minutes, then add the apples and sliced onions and saute together for 1 minute.
3. Nestle the clove studded onion into the mixture and add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste with the salt, pepper, Bavarian Seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Allow the mixture to come to the boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Taste the cabbage at the 30 minute mark. Adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more of whatever you wish. I happen to prefer a bit of crunch here, so I generally don't simmer beyond 30 minutes. If you prefer a softer texture, continue simmering for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until your desired texture is achieved.
As written, this recipe will serve 4 to 6, depending on portion size.