Apple Braised Green Cabbage is really a fun side dish and so good from fall through winter. Well, it’s good anytime, but for some reason I always associate it more with the colder months, with hearty meals. That makes sense because cabbage, since it keeps so well, is one of the things that probably kept many of our Midwestern ancestors, so many of German descent, going through the long, cold winter months.
This is one of my go-to sides when I serve Smoked Sausages like I show below or sometimes with pork chops. It makes a fantastic side for these Apple Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops I “stole” from Tyler Florence; the apple in the stuffing and the glaze of those chops plays off the apple in this cabbage.
About Apple Braised Green Cabbage:
The braised cabbage is slightly sweet and a bit tart from the vinegar, a little mellow from the wine (just use chicken stock if wine is a no go for you) and it has none of the overwhelming pungency of some of the Red Cabbage Braises that are so popular today.
Not only do I sometimes serve this with Smoked Sausage, sometimes I like to actually brown up the sausages and then remove them from the pan, make this cabbage in the same pan to the point it needs to braise away and then nestle the sausages back in to heat through. The sausages lend flavor to the cabbage and cabbage flavors the sausage. (The same can be done with pork chops.) I want to give a shout out to The Butcher & the Boar, a local business to both the Twin Cities and Charleston. These are their apple sausages and they’re something special.
If you have any kind of leftover smoked sausages or brats or something along those lines, this is a great dish to toss them in to heat through. Ya gotta know leftover sausages can be a challenge to heat and eat; they’ll be transformed sliced and warmed in this dish.
Depending on the size of your cabbage and how much your family likes it and/or deals with it as leftovers, you might want to adjust the amount of cabbage down just a bit. While it does wilt down slightly during cooking, even half of a large cabbage will produce quite a lot of braised cabbage. The dish in the photos will serve four in our family, but it is only half of the recipe I made using 1/4 of a large cabbage. Realistically speaking, if your family is wild about cabbage and eats it with no problem it will be a different story than if you are coaxing small children (or adults) to take a few bites.
Making Apple Braised Green Cabbage:
There’s a lot of room for variation in this recipe in the way it’s cooked. First, you can caramelize the onions for deep rich flavor or just saute them a bit for a brighter note. The same with the cabbage; it can be quickly sauteed for a fresher feel or browned a bit in the skillet as you toss it around. Then you can braise it to just to crisp-tender or braise it longer for softer, silkier cabbage.
You’ll want to taste and adjust the seasoning; more vinegar and/or salt for a tarter taste, more sugar (watch it, depending on how sweet or tart your apples are) if you like it that way.
If you don’t want to use wine, sub in some chicken stock; don’t be tempted to add apple cider or juice which might sound as if it would be great; it will really just make the cabbage overwhelmingly sweet. I know; I’ve tried it that way.
Saving Money on Apple Braised Green Cabbage:
Look for apples in the fall at the best price, and watch for them in January and February at a lower cost. In January, the apples in the cold storage need to be sold off quickly, and there is a glut of apples coming out of gassed storage.
Pick the largest cabbage you can find if sold by the head. Cabbage is always less expensive in the fall/winter and usually, there is a great sale around St. Paddy’s day. While you’ll want to pay attention to the sales, per head or per pound, they can often be picked up in my area for a song. It makes sense to pick up an extra if you have room in your fridge when you see a rock bottom price as cabbage can be used in so many dishes (follow the tag “cabbage” at the bottom of the page.) Cabbage keeps well for several weeks and even after it’s cut it still keeps well. If there is a little browning on the edges, cut it off. Unless it’s gone too far the cabbage should be fine underneath.
When buying wine, really shop the sales and speak to the employees. You’ll be able to find great wines for a pittance if you have a knowledgable wine person. They’ll ask what you’re making and be able to direct you to several options within your price range, many times options you may not have thought of or even know about. (Unless of course, you’re a wine expert, yourself.) Sign up for mailings or emails for their best sales, which are usually in the fall and spring.
If you read me regularly, I make my own with scraps of vegetables and bones. Here’s the basic recipe I use for Best Turkey or Chicken Stock – it’s not particular and though it simmers for a long time, the burner is barely on – I just count it as free. I can’t make all the stock I need so I’ll really shop the holiday sales around Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter, too. Aldi and your buyer’s club will have great pricing, but they usually don’t compare to the holiday sales at the grocer. Stock up at a low.Print
Apple Braised Green Cabbage
A mellow braised cabbage perfect to use as a side for smoked sausages or pork chops.
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 1x
- Category: Sides
- Cuisine: German
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, sliced with the grain
- 1/2 small head of cabbage, quartered, thinly sliced (core removed) or 1/4 of a large head
- 1 tart apple, peeled and grated if desired, or simply cut into a small dice
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (taste when it is near done and decide)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus a splash
- 1/4 cup water or chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a medium pot or Dutch oven, cook the onions in the butter over medium heat until softened and nearly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the apple, brown sugar, wine, vinegar, and water or stock, and bring up to a simmer, stirring.
Cover and braise for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring now and then and checking on the texture. Cook a little less for a firmer cabbage; a little more for softer cabbage. You may need to add more liquid, water is fine if your lid is not tight.
Salt and pepper to taste. Add a small splash of cider vinegar just before serving, if desired or a touch more sugar.
Keywords: Apple, Cabbage, Chicken Stock, German, Side, Smoked Sausage, Vegetable Side, Vinegar, Wine