Red cabbage

(Recipe #31, page 58)

Summer cabbage is much better than winter cabbage, which has a stronger flavor and needs to cook twice as long. To prepare the cabbage, cut the head in half, remove the coarse outer leaves and the toughest veins, and shave or slice into fine strips, as long as possible. Then boil enough water so that you don’t have to worry about scorching or having too much liquid.

Add good quality fat – e.g. from a pork roast, sauerbraten, a roast duck, bratwurst, or suet prepared according to section I, no. 54 – with some finely chopped onions, gradually add the cabbage, bringing the pot back to a boil each time; leave it uncovered for a quarter of an hour over high heat, then cover it tightly.

Cook constantly for a total of ¾–1 hour, tightly covered. The onions and the initial uncovered cooking eliminate the cabbage’s flatulent character, so that people can eat it who cannot do so comfortably when it is prepared differently. Later add salt, but cautiously, since red cabbage is easy to oversalt. When the cabbage is cooked through – it must not be allowed to get too soft – dust back and forth with a few pinches of flour to thicken the broth slightly; there should not be too much liquid, and it must not be watery or pasty. Finally add a few pats of butter, carefully mix in some vinegar, a tiny bit of pepper, and (optionally) a glass of red wine and proportionately 1–2 teaspoons of sugar, to produce a sourish taste moderated by the bit of sugar. Your taste must decide.

For formal meals, the potatoes should be of the same size and baked whole; for everyday meals they can be boiled and drained. Red cabbage looks most appetizing and attractive when served in an earthenware pot; iron and other metal produce a highly unattractive color.

Side dishes: beef filet, fried beef tongue, meatballs, sausages or bratwurst, roulades, roast pork, sauerbraten, stuffed pork chops.

Translated by David Green.

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