Rotkohl – German Red Cabbage

Rotkohl – German Red Cabbage is braised sweet and sour red cabbage that makes a perfect side dish in Autumn.
Rotkohl - German Red Cabbage

Rotkohl – German Red Cabbage

Sue Lau | Palatabe Pastime

Autumn has “officially” found us, with nice drops in temperatures for a few days but still staying fairly warm with temperatures around 80ºF. here in southwest Ohio. There has been color change in the trees, goldenrod everywhere along the roadsides, and market stands filling up with a harvest supply of apples, gourds, pumpkins and corn shocks. But the really tasty color is not quite here and won’t be for a few weeks.

I did get my scarecrow up on the front porch. The next day my neighbor followed suit with an autumn wreath on her door, so I think I may have started something. If I started it, I haven’t quite finished, as the scarecrow needs his share of pumpkins as part of his entourage, and I have some other autumn come Halloween decorations yet to dig out. I keep my brown wild twig wreath out there by the door, and it pretty much stays. Autumn looking yes, but also winterish, in a stark, Amish  sort of New England decorating way.  I used to keep it above my huge Amish 4 poster bed, where it looked smashing but the bed was so huge it would not go up the staircase  when we moved here, so it and I have parted ways.

Out back, I still manage to keep a few straggling tomatoes going, some of which I may have to harvest green. The pickle cucumbers are pretty much finished and soon the last of all of the peppers will be harvested bidding them farewell too. I  have a few strawberries ripening which don’t seem to know it is not June. They are small though and will probably be a good snack for birds, if they haven’t found them already.

The lemongrass I started this year after moving here last October is showing signs of Autumn with gorgeous reds and golds around the tips of the long stalks. It is quite at home near the edge of my patio as a specimen grass, and I know it will flavor many curries and teas in its long future with me.

So while I enjoy the last greens of summer, I know I will blink and they will be reds, and then forgotten  in a sea of grays and browns of an Ohio winter hard on the heels of fall.

While that feeling is bittersweet, the produce of autumn is always among my favorite. I simply cannot get more excited than all the things offered at the markets right now. And among those, the red cabbage. Which I must say makes a salad very colorful but I love it braised. And I have always loved having things of a sweet sour nature, ever since I was a kid. Charms sweet and sour pops.  Chinese sweet and sour pork. Hot and sour soup. Harvard beets. Rotkohl. I am always in  the mood for these.

And this is a simple recipe, albeit it takes a good hour to get  the cabbage as tender as it should be, but it’s no bother. This is wonderful with roast chicken, braised pork chops, grilled  sausages, rouladen, schnitzel, you name it. Very German, but this is a German inspired time of year in the kitchen. One that I love and I hope you do as well. Enjoy.

Rotkohl - German Red Cabbage

recipe name

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rotkohl - German Red Cabbage

  • 1 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1.5 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced
  • 1 cooking apple, cored peeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup red currant jelly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sweet red wine or red Zinfandel wine or additional  apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple cider


  1. Saute onions and bacon in butter until bacon renders  and onion is soft.
  2. Add cabbage and cook with the lid, and stirring frequently, just until the cabbage wilts.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and simmer 1 hour.

From the kitchen of

Rotkohl - German Red Cabbage

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