Braised Red Cabbage

January 8, 2014

For someone with an incorrigible sweet tooth (see: Marshmallow Mateys and Sebastian Joe's ice cream) my food cravings unaccountably tend towards the savory.  By sheer volume of food consumed, my biggest craving is for popcorn from the Target Cafe (I stop by the Nicollet Mall location so frequently that the friendly people behind the counter get a bag of popcorn ready for me when they see me walk in the door).  I also have an obsession with dill pickles, although I rarely actually get around to eating them.  Typically, the dill pickle craving hits around 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, when I'm already in my pajamas and the only pickle-like substance in the house is leftover sweet pickle relish from my last batch of Mom's Tuna Pasta Salad.  After staring sadly at the dill pickle-less refrigerator shelves for a moment, I make my way upstairs to Mike, who is hunched over his laptop working on a Very Important Nerdy Project.

Me: (wistfully) "You know what would be really good right now?  A dill pickle."
Mike: (without taking his eyes off the computer screen) "Then go buy some.  You have car keys and a credit card."
Me: "But I'm in my pajamas!"
Mike: "Stacy, I am not going out at 9:30 at night to buy you pickles."

So my dill pickle craving remains unrequited, because it never occurs to me to buy a jar of dill pickles during our Saturday grocery trip so that I have them on hand for Tuesday.

But this past weekend, I had the foresight to start craving something on Saturday morning, just as I was making the weekly grocery list.  I think that planning our upcoming Baltic cruise has started to affect my taste buds, because I had an otherwise unaccountable craving for rye bread and red cabbage.  The bread was easy: I settled on the "Milwaukee Rye" recipe from Great Whole Grain Breads by Beatrice Ojakangas, and it baked up beautifully.  The cabbage was trickier, since although I have never actually prepared red cabbage, I had very specific ideas about what the cabbage of my craving should taste like.  Bacon was obviously out for this semi-vegetarian, and the apples you can buy in Minnesota in January tend to have an unappetizingly mealy texture.  Ideally I wanted something a bit acidic, with  caraway seeds so that it would pair nicely with my rye bread.  I found everything I was looking for in an old recipe from EatingWell magazine, and my rye and red cabbage craving was satiated.  Now I just need to work on remembering to stock up on dill pickles.

Adapted from EatingWell November/December 1995


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until cabbage has started to wilt, about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth, caraway seeds, and sugar.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, season lightly with salt and pepper, and increase heat to high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Braised Red Cabbage