My family is absolutely crazy about Christmas, and I might be one of the worst! We just love this time of year and cannot get enough of it: we bake Christmas cookies, put up our Christmas wreath, listen to the same old Christmas songs on repeat and so forth. Actually, that’s just what we do during the advent season. When Christmas eve is finally here, we all come together to celebrate our favorite holiday and, how could it be otherwise, enjoy a fantastic meal with a lovely roast, tasty bread dumplings and German red cabbage.
RED CABBAGE AND THE CAN OPENER
In recent years I’ve taken over the preparation of the red cabbage, because my Mama’s favorite Christmas joke is that she can prepare this beautiful side dish with just the can opener. Basically, I do understand her. My parents used to cook the whole Christmas menu, and we were 10 to 12 people at that time. That’s a lot of work for two people. So, their focus was more on preparing the wild boar or hare roast as well as on the home-made bread dumplings. When it came to the red cabbage they allowed themselves a tiny shortcut.
The number of people around our Christmas table is a bit smaller now and the kitchen crew has changed. My Mama is still cooking for us, but both my uncles and I joined the team. While we happily sip our sparkling wine and hum along with the songs of our beloved Rock Christmas CD, my uncles prepare the roast and Mama makes the bread dumplings. I cut the cabbage head into fine slices, cube the apples and simmer all of that with a good shot of the delicious bubbly. This is a tiny bit more work, but absolutely worth the effort. The cabbage is beautifully al dente, the color makes me smile even before the meal (PINK !!!) and the earthy-sweet flavor combination is just perfect for Christmas.
I’m already looking forward to flying home to Germany to prepare everything with the crazy family, celebrate Christmas and enjoy our tasty treats.
PS: Please enjoy this delicious red cabbage recipe not only on Christmas but also before and after. Just have some nice mashed potatoes and a good bratwurst with it or pack the pink glory on a pancake with cream cheese and parsley. It’s just so delicious! It’s the perfect way to bring a hint of color into your winter kitchen.
GERMAN RED CABBAGE WITH APPLE AND SPARKLING WINE
8 to 10 servings – 60 minutes preparation time
1 red cabbage
1/2 cup sparkling wine
1 cup apple juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
2 tbsp red jam (currant, cherry, …)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 TL vegetable oil
1 TL salt
For the red cabbage, remove the outer leaves of cabbage head. Eighth it. Do not remove the stalk. It helps to keep the leaves together when cutting. Cut the cabbage into fine strips.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Put half of the red cabbage strips in the pot and let it heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the second half and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar and sparkling wine and bring to a boil. Pour the apple juice, add jam, bay leaves, season with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Cover the red cabbage and simmer for 40 minutes on medium heat, stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, dice the apple and mix with the lemon juice. After half of the time, add to the red cabbage and cook for another 20 minutes. Try and season with salt if necessary.
You can enjoy your red cabbage right away or leave it to stand in the fridge overnight. If you choose the latter, slowly heat the cabbage and season it to taste before serving.
Here is a print friendly version of my German Red Cabbage recipe with apple and sparkling wine. Enjoy!
Red Cabbage with Apple and Sparkling Wine