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Cabbage for Oktoberfest

Braised Cabbage

Braised Cabbage

A few days ago I mentioned in a post our Oktoberfest trek to a local bar and grill for German food. I had pork schnitzel and went home and made it for the first time and was thrilled with the outcome. One of the side dishes they served was braised cabbage. It was beyond good, so silky and buttery on my tongue with a nice tang. I had to try to make this new cabbage!

I understood that braised is a slow cooking process to achieve the most tender results. I would have thought cabbage would fall apart and be pure mush to eat after being cooked for 2 hours in the oven. Not so! It still had some chew to it and the flavors were bliss. It beat boiled cabbage all to pieces!

Roughly chopped cabbage

Roughly chopped cabbage

Again using a portion of that giant head of cabbage I got from a coworker’s neighbor’s garden, I cut up half of it into pieces that were about 1 1/2” in size. Some were smaller, some were bigger. It was just a rough chop.

Melt butter and add rest of ingredients to a dutch oven or slow cooker

Melt butter and add rest of ingredients to a dutch oven or slow cooker

I put the cabbage into a large bowl then mixed the rest of the ingredients together in my slow cooker and heated it on the stove. The recipe I used from Nibbles of Tidbits was pretty plain, and after reading the comments I used a few of their tips to take it up a notch.

Add cabbage and stir well

Add cabbage and stir well

When the butter was melted I added the cabbage and stirred well.  I let it come to a boil, then covered it and slid it into the preheated oven.  I’d put the covered dish into the oven for 2 hours, stirring it every 30 minutes as directed.

Bring to a boil, then cover and put in preheated oven for 2 hours

Bring to a boil, then cover and put in preheated oven for 2 hours

After two hours I removed it from the oven and plated it with the rest of our Oktoberfest meal.  I can’t vouch for the original recipe, but my version of braised cabbage was a work of art! Silky and flavorful with a nice touch of balsamic vinegar and a slight sweetness from the brown sugar, it was amazing. It was braised cabbage at its finest.

I’m not sure why the blogger had to add water; mine was never in danger of drying out and actually had quite a bit of liquid in it after 2 hours. Maybe my lid was tighter than hers, I have no idea why a person would have to add water.  I removed that direction from the recipe but if you notice it getting dry when you stir it every 30 minutes, feel free to add a bit more water.

Braised Cabbage

Braised Cabbage

I’d even thought maybe I should take the lid off the last 30 minutes and let it dry a bit but I didn’t want to ruin the slow braising effect that called for a lid. So to serve I simply used a slotted spoon and served the cabbage in small bowls as a side dish. It had been served like that in the restaurant too.

The long cooking time was definitely worth it for a phenomenal cabbage dish. Stirring it occasionally hadn’t been that much of a stretch, with a timer. I may not make it this way real often, but I will make it again for special occasions like Oktoberfest. It’s a keeper!

Braised Cabbage

1 head of cabbage; chopped (she used red, I used regular green cabbage)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Sour cream (optional garnish)

Add the vinegars, butter and sugar to a Dutch oven. Heat on the stove for about 5 minutes stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the chopped cabbage and mix well. Cover and braise in the oven at 350° F for 2 hours. Stir every half hour.

Eat hot, topped with sour cream if desired.

Serves 4

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