Rotkohl: German Red Cabbage

Contains:  Alcohol, no standard allergens.  Is: Gluten-free., one-pot cooking.  

German Red Cabbage, side, recipe

Ah, home-grown red cabbage!  (And, onion…)  Unfortunately, the red color gets lost with extended cooking!  

The inspiration recipe – I have to say I modified this just enough that you have to blame me if you don’t like mine.

The Spruce Eats typically has great, well-planned recipes, so I figured I’d try one of theirs for this veggie, in an ongoing effort to build meals around specific things that happen to be at hand.  My cabbage patch did well this year, and so… 

homesteading, cabbage, august

Today’s victim is the cabbage plant to the far right.  I slaughtered him by slicing down at the neck where his stem entered the ground, and brought him indoors for a good rinsing. Hunkering behind him was a small baby, whom I also pegged for the meal. Meanwhile, I also ripped two living onions out of the soil by their roots.  Both were on the smallish side of medium but of sufficient size and solidity to make my mouth water.  

(You should be glad I won’t raise Cabbage Path Dolls… )  There’s a part of me that wonders what a spruce tree REALLY eats!  I haven’t found any on my property to ask.  

The original recipe uses a quarter cup apple juice instead of water.  I didn’t feel like wasting (and I would have, as that stuff is just too sweet and boring to consume much of) a whole bottle of apple juice for one quarter cup of the stuff – now, if i could make my own fresh and unsweetened apple cider!; that stuff is GOOD!  Also discovered I didn’t have an open bottle of red wine (and what I have closed up I don’t want to cook with).  So.. the alcohol changed.  I also did slightly modify some amounts of ingredients based on personal taste.  

recipe, german, red cabbage

I know maple syrup isn’t German, but I’ve made my own here last winter, and I figure – that flavor ain’t going to hurt!  (Agave, a suggestion from the source recipe, isn’t German, either.  Adapt with sense and sensibility!)  

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  2-3 hours.
Rest Time:  None.
Cuisine:  German.
Serves:  2-3  as a side.
Leftovers?  Yes, easy.

Rotkohl: German Red Cabbage


  • 1.5 ounces raw bacon (either American or German Bauchspeck) I am not familiar with the latter, but keeping this as an option for those of you who are, and as a reminder to try to find some for my own tastings. 
  • 2 small/medium diced onions
  • 2 cups, about 1/2 pound, shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (or, dry Vermouth)
  • 1/4 cup water.  (Or, you could use apple juice….)  
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or sugar, agave nectar or honey)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 apple (cored and quartered – peeling is optional)


Brown the bacon in a pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add the shredded red cabbage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in the half-cup red wine and the water or apple juice to deglaze, using a spatula to help. 

Then, add the your sweetness source, the bay leaf, and everything else.  Gently mix.  

Simmer on stove top for 2 to 3 hours, stirring ever so often. Keep the liquids one finger width (1/2 inch) deep, adding extra  water as required.  I tended to the 2 hour mark.  

Adjust seasonings, and allow some of the liquid to cook off if needed, just before the dish finishes. Remove the bay leaf, and serve hot.

Serve as a side, and enjoy.  

Recipe, German, cabbage, red cabbage

Interestingly, despite my three-quarters German genetic heritage, this is only the second German recipe that I believe I have posted – I made a German potato salad a while back.  Although maybe the souse might count, from Pennsylvania Dutch cookery.  I am not certain about some of the antecedents of some of Mom’s cooking, so I shall check those items out further.  Maybe I should learn to make brats??

Link Parties:  

Homestead Blog Hop.

Full Plate Thursday. 

Fiesta Friday.

Farmhouse Friday

What’s for Dinner?  Sunday Link-Up.  


About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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4 Responses to Rotkohl: German Red Cabbage

  1. Kelly says:

    This is similar to something my mom used to make when we were young. Thank you for sharing with us on the Homestead Blog Hop!

  2. helenfern says:

    It looks good!! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Hope the rest of your week is amazing!

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