a very lot of red cabbage

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A well-prepared red cabbage is an essential part of winter season – at least for me it is!

 

 
Red cabbage (or “red cabbage with apples”) is available all year round in the frozen goods’ department of your trusted food store – maybe if Xmas is ante portas the supplies decrease rapidly. The frozen packets are good for 2-4 servings – this is the simple way to stock up for any Xmas- or pre-Xmas or after-Xmas dinner.

On the other hand there is the true home-made red cabbage revealing your personal touch in spices & your uniqueness. It’s obvious that we’ll reach out for this goal – especially when learning that the red cabbage production is far easier than you think for a start & that you don’t need producing red cabbage in your kitchen 4-5 times during winter, but a single red cabbage campaign will deliver enough stuff for several dinners.

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I’ve assembled all ingredients (at least for doing it my way!) for a home-made red cabbage session:

  • There is a wonderful big red cabbage – at the latest now you’ll realize that we’re not talking about producing only 2-3 servings!
  • Next big thing are the apples – I always use Boskop apples.
  • Then there are these little white bowls containing:
    • honey
    • balsamic vinegar
    • lemon juice
    • powdered cilantro & 5-spices-mix.

These are the flavoring agents I use – feel free to add similar spices (later more).

  • Furthermore there are:
    • bay leaves
    • cloves
    • juniper berries
    • allspice.

…and finally: salt & pepper.

Now we are ready to start the session!

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At first we’re dealing with the red cabbage; the head of cabbage is usually about 2.000 – 2.500 gr. We cut it into halves after having removed all dirty & shrivelled leaves (as a rule: only the outmost layer). The we cut the halves once again into halves – getting now quarters.

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The quarters are ready for your mandolin slicer (or other kitchen equipment being able to process a head of cabbage into a very fine mess):

  • Don’t be afraid of the huge amount of red cabbage!
    (There is only very few waste like the stump!)
  • Don’t be afraid of the color seeming to transform your hands & fingers reddish – it won’t last: hand-washing will clear everything!

Now let’s prepare the apples. It is easier to divide the processed apples at once because you’ll need about 50% rather soon & the remaining 50% only later. It doesn’t matter if the apples start to oxygenize (i. e. get brown) a little.

For the basic loading of red cabbage you’ll need a rather big pot (about 6 l capacity in my case). Don’t worry if the cabbage load is almost over the edge of the pot – it’ll reduce during cooking.

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We’ll cook the red cabbage in 2 worksteps:

  • 1st step: Only boiling in very salty water to get rid of all the foam.
  • 2nd step: Fine-tuning with apples & spices – boiling to get it done.

The 1st step requires your full attention because the boiling water will start the cabbage to balloon in order to leave the pot – what will be a real mess! (B. t. w.: You don’t think how often you can create a real mess with lots of cleaning work to do if you leave your kitchen alone at the wrong moment!)
So be careful & watch the cabbage in the boiling water; take a spatula or a big spoon to press the cabbage back into the boiling water.

The cabbage – with lots of salt – needs boiling only for 1-2 min; then the pot is emptied into a big colander waiting in your sink. You’ll see that the red cabbage has transformed into blue cabbage; all the water is deep blue. After brushing the cabbage with cold water & cleaning the pot of any foam residues fill about 1 cm fresh water in the pot before transferring the cabbage mess back. Yes – it looks somewhat disastrous – however, not for long: this is just the end of the 1st workstep.
(Well – encourage yourself: the most busy & strenuous part is done now!)

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Start boiling again – you’ll see that the amount of cabbage is smaller now & more appropriate for the pot size. Add salt & pepper – careful now: this will end in the final dish.

Now:

  • Add balsamic vinegar & lemon juice (or lime juice); after stirring the cabbage it’s very red again.
  • Add honey (or sugar or sugar beet syrup or maple syrup or whatever you like) to smoothen the acidity.
  • Add some cilantro & stir again.
  • Add some bay leaves: take only very big & strong bay leaves (no crumbly ones!) & count them – you’ll have to fish them out later… and then comes the “egg”!

Take a stainless steel tea egg, unscrew it, fill it with cloves, allspice & juniper berries, screw it very carefully & make sure it’s definitely closed before you drop it in the cabbage mess.
Red alert: The absolute disaster is an self-unscrewing tea egg spreading all the little spices in the red cabbage – you’ll never succeed in controlling the damage done! (You’ll have only 2 alternatives: dump it & restart or try to convince your guests that it is the most natural pleasure if they happen to bite a bit of very intensive spice!)

Now mix the 1st 50% of apple bits into the red cabbage. Cover the pot with a fitting lid & let it simmer for about 30 min.

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Afterwards the apples have vanished into a very smoothy liquid surrounding the red cabbage shreds. You can fish for the bay leaves & the tea egg now – then taste it. As a rule you’ll have to add some salt & pepper, maybe also some more honey or lemon juice. The red cabbage should be well-done now.

Add the 5-spices-mix & maybe some more cilantro – it depends on your liking!
B. t. w.: Besides cilantro & 5-spice-mix you can add similar spices like cinnamon or nutmeg – both winter-Xmas-typical spices combining very well with red cabbage.
Important: you should slowly come to an end with the spicing business!

Now add the 2nd half of apple bits, stir it & cover the pot again. Let it simmer for another 10 min. While the 1st load of apples is meant to add smoothness, the 2nd load shall stay in bits.

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Now we are done!

Let the red cabbage cool & freeze it (I recommend: 2 servings per container (about 400 ml per container – well: may end up as 3 servings as well if you prefer!)). When ready for use just defrost & heat it in a microwave, taste it (as a rule: always some more salt & pepper is fine!) & serve it.

 

A very lot of Red Cabbage

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

A very lot of Red Cabbage

A well-prepared red cabbage is an essential part of winter season - at least for me it is!

Ingredients

  • 2.000 - 2.500 gr red cabbage (whole head!)
  • 2.000 gr Boskop apples (untrimmed)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice (or lime juice)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • about 1 teaspoon cloves
  • about 1 teaspoon allspice
  • about 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spices-mix
  • salt & pepper
  • Kitchen Equipment:
  • 1 large pot of 6l capacity (or more)
  • 1 tea egg (stainless steel)

How to...

  1. Trim the head of red cabbage & cut it in quarters.
  2. Slice the cabbage with a mandolin slicer (or use a food processor).
  3. Trim half of the apples & cut them into bits (2-3 cm).
  4. Cook the cabbage in a large pot with lots of water & lots of salt.
  5. Let the cabbage boil for about 1-2 min.
  6. Drain the cabbage in a colander & brush with cold water.
  7. Fill about 1cm water in the large (cleaned!) pot.
  8. Put all the cabbage in the pot & start heating.
  9. Add salt & pepper.
  10. Add lemon juice, balsamic vinegar & honey.
  11. Add bay leaves & a tea egg filled with allspice, cloves & juniper berries.
  12. Add cilantro.
  13. Add the prepared half of the apples & stir.
  14. Close the pot with a lid & let it simmer for 30 min.
  15. Prepare the rest of the apples like before.
  16. Remove the bay leaves & the tea egg.
  17. Taste the cabbage & add more lemon juice or more honey if necessary.
  18. Add more cilantro if necessary & add 5-spices-mix.
  19. Add the rest of the apple bits.
  20. Stir the cabbage once more.
  21. Close the pot with a lid & let it simmer for about 10 min.
  22. Let the red cabbage cool down.
  23. Fill the red cabbage in container (2 servings per container) & freeze it.

Notes

"Cook Time" is the time from heating the red cabbage for the 1st time (including the draining), re-heating & cooking until ready to cool down.

The amounts of spices as well as the fluids are estimated. If you like a stronger (more "sour") version of red cabbage feel free to add vinegar & lemon juice. If you like it sweeter - well: add more honey.

The spices especially cilantro, 5-spices-mix, cloves etc. are my individual choice; feel free to add similar pre-Xmas spices like cinnamon or nutmeg - or leave it if you prefer a more basic version.

I don't thicken my red cabbage with corn or potato starch because the "melted" apples provide enough "smoothness" - according to my view.

For freezing I use containers of 400 ml capacity meaning 2 servings (1 serving = 1 person).

http://thebusinesswomanskitchen.de/a-very-lot-of-red-cabbage/

 

This time I processed a red cabbage of 2.400 gr together with 2.000 gr boskop apples: I got 9 double servings (= 18 single servings) – well the servings #1 and #2 were polished off the same evening; the next 4 servings were killed during a dinner with friends next weekend.  …and then there comes Xmas: red cabbage is an inherent part of our Xmas dinner. So: no worries about the consumption!

This red cabbage recipe evolved during my “please-(almost)-no-fat-phase”; therefore I don’t use any oils or butter in it. If you like an additional butter flavor feel free to add butter, but have in mind that the melted apples & the honey take care of smoothness.

Start always big with red cabbage – rather than small! The resources & time you need will be almost the same & you don’t need worrying what to do with the “big” rest of the “raw” cabbage if you’re not a fan of uncooked vegetarian food. My experience: you won’t get a red cabbage just the size of a big apple – let’s say about 250 gr – which is fine for a 2-people-dinner. …and red cabbage gets even better when once reheated after been frozen!

Apples? You should work rather hearty, but mellow apples – not too sweet ones!
I tested oranges once, but I didn’t like it – in the end it was a bit too sour.

 

The Businesswoman with too many office hours thinks

Once again the idea of getting into a kitchen session to produce lots of food for future use. I like the underlying concept of dirtying your hand once & benefit from the results several times, but I think I’ll have to get my freezer archive a little bit more organized to avoid forgetting prepared food.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Frieder

    I usually don’t use that many apples, but add half a jar of redcurrant jelly instead – for a slightly different fruity note. Red Cabbage freezes well and tastes even better reheated – as a well known German writer noted “von dem sie besonders schwärmt, wenn er wieder aufgewärmt”…(Wilhelm Busch, Max und Moritz)

    • The Businesswoman's Kitchen

      A very good idea to use another fruity ingredient. I’ll try soon (or next winter… whenever I’ll do the next red cabbage session!).

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