German Red Cabbage

Prep Time: 1 Hour
20 servings


This recipe for the traditional holiday cabbage of Germany was given to me by Chef Louis Jesowshek. I was seeking the perfect recipe to prepare for a public broadcasting show on the German holiday traditions in Louisiana.


4 heads red cabbage

8 ounces red wine vinegar

1 and 1/2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil

3 red onions, diced

1 tbsp caraway seeds

1 cup black raisins

1 (48-ounce) jar applesauce

1 (12-ounce) jar black currant jelly

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup red wine

salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.The evening before cooking, slice cabbage "coleslaw style" and sprinkle with red wine vinegar.  Make sure that vinegar is well blended into the cabbage. This will set the beautiful red color of the cabbage. Place in a plastic or stainless steel pan along with cinnamon sticks. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, heat bacon fat in a large braising-style pot. Add onions and saute 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon sticks and add cabbage to the pot. Once cabbage begins to wilt, add caraway seeds, raisins and applesauce then blend well into the cabbage mixture, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Once the mixture is wilted to about half volume, add currant jelly, blending well. Mix cornstarch with red wine to dissolve and add to the cabbage mixture. This will thicken the excess liquid into a nice glaze. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Remove from the pot and place in a large baking pan. Cover the pan loosely with baking or parchment paper and bake 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender, stirring once or twice. Over-cooking the cabbage will result in a brown, unsightly dish. It is important to retain the beautiful red look. This dish can be served as a perfect vegetable side dish or as is traditional in Germany, under Christmas goose or alongside wild game.