Recipe: German Purple Cabbage

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I’m half German and Michael is first generation, so at Thanksgiving we like to pull out some old-school German favorites, including this one for purple cabbage. This is a slightly modified recipe from the version Michael’s mother makes. Her shortcut is to start with jarred red cabbage and then she adds the wine, apples and spices. The pickling spice I found in my grocery store was a mix of cloves, mustard seed, bay leaf, coriander seed, cinnamon pieces and red pepper flake among other spices. If you can’t find pickling spice, I found this good recipe you can use to recreate it at home. The longer the cabbage simmers, the more tender and lovely it gets—so you can start this early on Thanksgiving day and just let it bubble away on a back burner until dinner time.

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Servings: 6
Time: 15 minutes active; about 2 1/2 hours total

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples, chopped
2 pound head of red cabbage, shredded
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup pickling spice, wrapped and tied up tightly in cheesecloth (you’ve now made a “spice bag”)
5 cups water
3 tablespoons dry red wine
3 tablespoons red/black currant jelly

1. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add apples and onions and saute about 5 minutes, until softened.

2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, toss cabbage with vinegar, sugar and salt. Add to the pot with bay leaf, spice bag and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 90 minutes to 2 hours until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Remove bay leaf and spice bag, and add wine and jelly. Mix well and serve hot.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food and is a vegetarian—she doesn’t believe these things are mutually exclusive. A vegetarian for the past nine years, Capps created Vegetarianized.com as a way to share her passion for eating, drinking and cooking—and to make vegetarianism more accessible. The blog transforms meat dishes into vegetarian or improves vegetarian recipes and puts the results up in a weekly post called the Sunday Serving on the blog and at the Facebook Group Vegetarianized. Capps is also a food writer, teaches cooking classes in Davis and is an amateur caterer. Upcoming cooking classes and recent food articles are found on the blog home page.