I’ve been cooking a lot of cabbage lately, using a recipe from my CSA farm, Tierra Vegetables. They call it “Cabbage for Those Who Hate Cabbage.” It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing. Chop cabbage, sauté in butter, add salt and pepper. That’s it!
My son could not get over how delicious this veggie was, served alongside a pork tenderloin with a peach-chipotle chutney I made from our peaches and Tierra’s chipotle powder.
But just think of the heights the lowly cabbage could reach if you added bacon, which makes everything taste better. A friend of mine, Marina Chang, brought her version of German Red Cabbage to a Octoberfest party last fall that centered around beer, grilled bratwurst and other yummy sausages. It struck me as a perfect dish to serve for a football play-off party, when you need a hearty dish to feed a crowd.
The bacon is optional. If you want to make this dish vegetarian, leave out the bacon and sauté the onions in a small puddle of olive oil. You could also toss 6 cloves or 1 teaspoon caraway seeds into the brown sugar/vinegar saucepan liquid, for added flavor.
Red Cabbage with Bacon and Apples
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup cider vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
8 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch sections
1 medium to large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
2 small heads red cabbage, chopped
4 firm apples, peeled, cored and sliced
In a saucepan, heat brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and chicken stock, stirring to help dissolve the brown sugar. Taste and adjust the ingredients to reach the desired sweet and sour intensity of flavor. Set aside.
Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the bacon pieces until nearly crisp. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Mix in cabbage and apples, and pour brown sugar and vinegar mixture over all. Using tongs or two large serving spoons, turn entire contents to evenly combine ingredients and wilt cabbage a bit. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, or place covered pot/Dutch oven in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until cabbage is softened. Stir occasionally.