Monday, March 9, 2009

"Blaukraut"-- Red Cabbage, Rotkohl or Sweet and Sour Cabbage (With Love, Bavarian Style)

This March 8th would have been my mother's 85th birthday. My mother was an amazing cook and she loved to eat-- while maintaining a Size 8. If history repeats itself, I should downsize to a size 8 anytime now... if only I wasn't so addicted to food blogs and cookbooks and experimenting in the kitchen! If my mother was here, I would have made this dinner for her.

She passed on in 2003, but I still feel her presence when I am making her Bavarian recipes. My "Mutti" had a powerful influence on how I cook. I love German Food, and my husband (who is born and raised in Missouri) has fallen in-love with my Bavarian heritage.

There are very different types of German food, depending on what region you visit. A quick geography lesson-- Bavaria is a "State" and the capital is Munich/Muenchen. They have an entirely different flag than Northern Germany, and the dialect is very different than Northern Germany.

The dialect that I understand, and still speak (though rusty) is Bavarian. If you ask any true Bavarian-- there is a distinct rivalry between the Prussians and Bavarians that dates back centuries.

My favorite recipes are influenced by Bavaria and Austria, and I'll share them as I start to put the recipes in my head, into photos and printable recipes.

My mother's hometown, of Bad Reichenhall, is just yodeling distance to Salzburg, Austria and right down the road to a very famous Ski Resort-- Berchtesgarten. Bad Reichenhall is an upscale spa town that offers so many beautiful things to see-- the Alps, The Arts-- Opera, Outdoor concerts, Music Festivals (They love Mozart), hiking, skiing.

I became very homesick for my mother's Home Land, by viewing photos by "Rotraud" on Flickr. She lives in Bad Reichenhall and has posted beautiful photographs of Berchtesgartener Land. I want to acknowledge that the above photos are hers. She is a talented photographer.
Sorry, I got carried away with nostalgic memories... back to my recipe. In honor of my mother's birthday, I made "Schnitzel", Homemade Spaetzle and Red Cabbage. My mother loved that meal!
WARNING: This is not a kid friendly recipe! Well, at least the beer part (and that is a "must"). My son still doesn't like red cabbage. Fine with me! Red cabbage pairs beautifully with pork or any kind of sausage, so it won't go to waste.

I'm going to post the recipes for the Schnitzel and Home Made Spaetzle over the next few days, with directions on how to make these. I promise. If I do say so myself, the dinner was stellar! My mother would have been so proud of how I am carrying on her traditional recipes.
For now, here's a sneak peek at the "Whole Enchilada", "Whole Schnitzel":

I have tweaked my mom's recipe for "Blaukraut" (blue cabbage, in Bavarian...or "Rotkohl)) or "Red Cabbage" to adapt to my own taste...just a little bit, by switching from white sugar to brown sugar. I guess, you could say, this is one of my signature dinners. I love red cabbage, but I've had more than my share of bland recipes. Here is how I make it, and it's delicious:

You will need: a head of red cabbage, onion, one Granny Smith Apple (you want it tart), brown sugar, red wine vinegar, apple juice (I use organic, unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice, from Trader Joe's), ground cloves, fresh ground nutmeg and (optional) caraway seeds-- but my family doesn't like them, so I leave them out.

Core a medium head of red cabbage and slice:

Heat a Dutch Oven with a swirl of olive oil and heat. Add sliced onion and cook, till just tender-- 2-3 minutes:

Next, add the cabbage and braise for 3- minutes-- until just tender. Isn't that a pretty color?

In no specific order, add the brown sugar, cored and grated apple, apple juice...

Add the vinegar:

Stir to combine, cover with a lid and simmer on low for about 30 minutes. You want the cabbage to be tender, but not overcooked and mushy.

When I make this dish, I make Schnitzel (breaded veal, chicken or pork with my homemade breadcrumbs) cooked in olive oil to a golden brown. My homemade spaetzle, cooked in unsalted butter with fresh parsley is the perfect side dish to make this one of my family's favorite German dinners. While Germany produces some beautiful wine, I am a beer drinker-- "Pilsner" being my favorite. A glass of beer with this meal makes the whole meal come together:

I'm going to send this post to both of my brothers. I can already hear them moaning with regret that they could not eat this. Every October, though, they know that I make an Oktoberfest dinner in honor of our mother and her Bavarian Heritage.

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Lissaloo said...

What a wonderful thing to do in memory of your Mother :)

Kathleen said...

I am so glad you found me!
I love red cabbage, and will save your recipe..
And the tribute to your mom was lovely, My birthday is Mar 7 and my mom died that day 12 yrs here's to our good mothers, so dearly missed!

Kelly said...

OMG ... I love red cabbage! My mom makes it and refuses to give me her recipe. Thank you for posting this!

Culinarywannabe said...

What a great heritage! That's so nice that you have these recipes from your mom that you can now pass along in your own family (my your son's future wife will like red cabbage!).

Dottie said...

Hi, I enjoyed your tribute to your Mutti. I am from Muenchen, Germany myself and grew up there until 17 and up until a few years ago when my Mutti passed, went home every 18 months. I just wanted to tell you, there is a difference in Blaukraut (bluecabbage) and Rotkraut (Redcabbage). Both are made with what is called red cabbage here in the U.S. However, rotkraut has an acid (vinegar,lemon, added to it to keep it red. Blaukraut does not and therefore turns a bluish color. And to keep rotkraut red, one should toss the shredded cabbage with the acid used in a recipe at the very beginning. Rotkraut therefore has a sweet and sour taste and Blaukraut does not have the sour taste, it's sweeter. But either kraut is wunderbar !

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! My Mutti died when I was 16 and I miss her cooking so having this is a godsend. Every other site has americanised it and I hate it! Thank U.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous,
Goodness this is an old post, that is in sore need of newer and better photos. Still, I'm very happy that this recipe helped to bring back memories. I make this all the time, and just love it.

Anonymous said...

It looks delicious, but could you give a measurement or an approximation of the amounts of the ingredients?

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous:
If you had emailed me, directly, I could have sent you the link. There should be a recipe card at the end of the post. If you can't see it, you are probably using an old version of Internet Explorer. Try using Google Chrome or Mozilla. If you still can't see it, email me at and I will send you the link to where I store all of my recipes cards.

Pat said...

My mother still lives in Germany (trying to get her to move here with no luck) and I manage to get to see her once a year which isn't enough. I get all the german cooking when I am home visiting her but with all your wonderful recipes with pictures I just might start cooking some for my brothers. I won't be as good of a cook as my mother but maybe I will be passable.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Pat,
Sorry, I missed your comment until now. I believe that cooking takes practice. I hope this recipe will turn out perfect for you, as other readers have told me it's easy and fool-proof. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Bernadette Marlene said...

Hello! Thank you soooo much for this recipe! I have been dating my German boyfriend for about 4 years and wanted to “wow” him with an authentic German dinner. He had always talked about Blaukraut. After Googling it, I stumbled on your page a couple years ago and have been making this recipe every since!!! It’s so fantastic! I have made little tweeks to it, but have stuck to your base. I always add cinnamon and today I’m trying it in the slow cooker. Anyhow, I just want to thank you! Because of you I will have something to pass down to my little girls :)

Pat said...

Hi, Debby...Your red cabbage looks wonderful and I am anxious to try it!

Jeremiah Burhite said...

I love this recipe and serve it at my Oktoberfest party and always get compliments on it.

Jeremiah Burhite said...

I love this recipe and serve it at my Oktoberfest party and always get compliments on it.

Heidi said...

I was born in BURGHAUSEN on the German Austria border and speak Bavarian better than german. Our favoite meals are schnitzel, red cabbage,semmiknoedl or anything Bavarian. Pretzils, I love. Thanks for posting your recipe.