German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) Recipe

Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr
  • 3 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings German Red Cabbage
Ratings (25)

Here is one recipe for German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) that I make quite often. It is a traditional accompaniment for roast goose or bratwurst and potato purée. This is not made with any flour, so it's wheat free.

The red cabbage is cooked (as opposed to a raw red cabbage slaw) and benefits from the flavors of red wine, apple juice, a hint of sugar and cloves. The aroma while it cooks is beguiling.

Makes 4 servings of German Red Cabbage

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 ounces bacon (either American or German Bauchspeck, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 4 cups red cabbage (shredded, about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or agave nectar or honey)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and quartered)

How to Make It

  1. Brown 2 1/2 ounces bacon in a dutch oven. Add 1/2 cup diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups shredded red cabbage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup apple juice to deglaze, add the 1 tablespoon sugar or agave nectar or honey, 1 whole bay leaf, 4 whole cloves, ground black pepper to taste and 1 peeled, cored and quartered apple.
  3. Simmer on stove top for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep the liquids one finger width (1/2 inch) deep, adding apple juice or water. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot.

    Note: This recipe freezes well. Make it once, serve it twice. I put it in freezer bags and press it flat (1 inch) so that it thaws quickly and takes up less room in the freezer than a bulky package would. I can also break off 1 serving and keep the rest frozen.

    Raw Cabbage vs. Cooked Cabbage

    Germans love their cabbage. There are so many varieties and so many ways to use them. Raw cabbage exists in coleslaws (believed to have originated with the Dutch where it is known as koolsla) and cooked cabbage pops up everywhere as a side to pork, beef and poultry.

    Even though cabbage is easy to cook, albeit a little time-consuming (but the pot needs little watching), it is sold as a convenience food in jars throughout Germany and through import stores in the U.S.

    As a counterpoint to hot red cabbage, here is a German Red Coleslaw recipe and another for Red-and-Green Cabbage Coleslaw which is pretty on the plate.