Despite all the craziness at the grocery store lately, I decided to head out to our local spot to get supplies for a new recipe I wanted to try.
We were going to have some specialty German sausage for dinner, graciously shared with us by a friend, and I wanted to get something traditional to go with it.
After searching online, I determined I would make a warm German potato salad and some German red cabbage.
When I got to my produce section, that plan had to quickly change. There wasn’t a single potato in sight. Not a Russet or a fingerling or a Yukon gold. Nothing. I’ve never seen such a thing in my life.
Realizing I was out of luck for potato salad, I turned my attention to the cabbage area. Leaves were strewn about, and there were no green heads left. I was afraid I was going to have to come up with a new plan, but I finally spied two very small heads of red cabbage hidden in the back of the display. I decided to scoop them up for our dinner, figuring two small heads equaled one medium one.
So, while I’m sharing this recipe with you this week, I can’t promise you’ll be able to find the ingredients for a bit, but save it, because this turned out great and was an especially delicious side dish to German sausage.
This recipe comes from the website “Quick German Recipes” and is by Oma Gerhild Fulson. (“Oma” is German for “Grandma.”) I recommend checking out her site. She has lots of traditional recipes and even has a cookbook out. You can find the original post at https://www.quick-german-recipes.com/recipe-for-red-cabbage.html. I left the sugar out of my version.
Oma’s Red Cabbage
- 1 medium head red cabbage shredded
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and shredded
- 1/2 cup sweet red wine I used a cabernet savignon
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 rounded teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 rounded teaspoon cloves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- In a deep pot or very large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until lightly browned.
- Add the shredded cabbage and apples and saute for a few minutes, stirring regularly to incorporate the ingredients.
- Mix in one cup of water along with the red wine, cider vinegar, salt and pepper, nutmeg, cloves, lemon juice and corn starch.
- Cover the pan and let it simmer for somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on how tender you want your cabbage. Check and stir every five minutes or so.
- Once the cabbage is to your desired tenderness, taste test it to see if you need to add any more spices, and add more cornstarch if you want to thicken up the juice a bit more.
- Serve hot.
This had some really nice flavor combinations going on—a little tartness from the apples and vinegar, sweetness from the wine, and warmth from the spices. Plus, it was absolutely gorgeous.
Two words of warning, though. One, it will make your whole house smell like cabbage, which I can tell you was not a plus in Joey’s book. Two, red cabbage likes to stain your fingers, so be ready for a little pop of color on your palms from handling it.
I was glad to be able to find just enough ingredients to make my German red cabbage this week, and it gave me a huge appreciation for our local grocers and those who work in that industry. I bet these are exhausting times, and it’s a good reminder of how lucky I am that fresh produce and an abundance of food is normally always at my fingertips.
Hopefully, our grocery stores—and our communities—will be back to normal in no time.
This piece first appeared in print on March 19, 2020, amid the COVID-19 quarantine.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.