I like to think of myself as an “equal opportunity eater”. There are few foods that I won’t eat (like mushy peas) but while I have my favorites, I am pretty open to just about anything.. with the possible exception of cabbage. It’s all well and good in a salad, but cooked? No thank you – which when I think about it is kind of strange since I am half scottish and half irish… evidently “someone” was hiding behind the door when they were passing out the “cabbage loving” gene. So, it’s no secret that recipes featuring cooked cabbage aren’t high on my list… in fact few have ever made the list.. except this one. Cider Braised Cabbage and Sausage. The dish was inspired by a braised cabbage side I had at The Vintage Press, a restaurant in Visalia that I visited on the Melissa’s Produce Citrus Tour. The cabbage was served as a side and it was delicious. Tender and tangy it bore no resemblance to the watery, mushy and flavorless cabbage I’m all too familiar with. I could have happily made a meal on that cabbage… which got me thinking.. that braised cabbage was great as a side but what about as a main dish…with sausage?
Once home from the tour, I started experimenting, thinking this would make a great “one dish” dinner – a subject I’ve been thinking a lot about since as of today we are entering La Crosse season- which means games… and lots of them. So between games and our other activities,weeknights are going to be hectic once again and “one dish” dinners become my weeknight mainstays. Dishes like this Cider Braised Cabbage and Sausage are a nice change from the usual rice and pasta based one dish dinners – it just needs a side of warm bread like my favorite Tuscan loaf “take and bake” from La Brea Bakery - you just bake it for 8 to 10 minutes and you have warm, freshly baked bread! The best part though? Is coming home (after being half frozen for 3 hours watching La Crosse) to a warm fire, freshly baked bread and a cozy bowl of Cider Braised Cabbage and Sausage.
The key to this dish is to slice the cabbage very, very thin. The wider the slices, the longer it will take to become tender. You can slice the cabbage by hand or use the food processor. Depending upon how sweet your red wine is, you may not need the honey - taste the cabbage first and then decide! This dish can be made a day ahead and then gently re heated on the stove in a covered pan (I add a tablespoon or so of water) or can be re warmed in the microwave. This makes 4 - 6 servings!
- 1 - 14 oz. package Turkey Keilbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1 head red cabbage, cored and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 dice
- 2 onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the keilbasa and saute until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add half the onions and half the cabbage. Cook for 10 minutes until the cabbage has reduced in volume. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining cabbage and onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add the previously cooked cabbage and onion mixture back to the pan and add the apples. Add the juice,red wine caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the cabbage is very tender and almost all the liquid is gone - about 30 minutes. If cabbage is not tender and all the liquid has evaporated, add an additional 1/4 cup water and continue to simmer until the cabbage is tender. Taste and add the honey if desired and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add the sausage back to the saute pan to warm. Serve!