Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for cabbage!

Braised German Red Cabbage

Slow-cooked Red Cabbage

My family and I have got a lot to be thankful for this year. Oh, I’m thankful for more hours of sleep so that I can share this easy & budget-friendly Red Cabbage recipe with you. Aside from being thankful for the good food coma and good wine, we are truly blessed to have so much generosity and support as we started to grow our family — from family and friends, as well as from the Alberta Baby Box & Welcome to Parenthood program.

I had to convince my 4.5 month old to nap, so that I could slice the cabbage using a chef’s knife. The conversation went like this, “Sweetie, time to nap. You won’t miss much. Slicing cabbage is pretty boring. I will play with you when you wake up from a refreshing nap.” I pre-chop/slice the onions the night before and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. (Cutting onions around babies are going to make them really cry.) Interesting aside: the earlier babies sleep, the more time you’ve got for food prep for the next day. Bonus: a less over-tired baby is also a happier baby.

This is my second Thanksgiving making Red Cabbage as a side dish. This year, I had to resort to using the 6 quart slow cooker. I honestly found little difference between using the slow cooker versus braising it slowly on the stove. With *Oma‘s feedback and suggestion from last year, I used lemon juice. It does make the dish better than using vinegar. (*She is my Oma-in-law but we will call her ‘Oma’) Her recipe was quite verbal. This recipe is my adaptation of an authentic German family recipe.

One large head of red cabbage may not fit in the slow cooker, so be prepared to store leftover sliced cabbage to use some left over for some fresh salad.

This red cabbage recipe is my family-in-law’s approved. When I asked Oma how she liked the red cabbage, she said when she did it, she sliced the red cabbage a lot thinner by using this “machine” as she used her hands to describe the motion. I think she had meant the mandolin to get the cabbage very thinly sliced. She mentioned, however, that I did a good job by hand. Cutting the red cabbage is tricky — core first then slice thinly. Always ensure that your base is stable and flat before continue cutting. My red cabbage was eventually a cube! Knife safety always comes first. So, I will gently remind you to sharpen your knife if you haven’t done so in a long time. “A sharp knife is a safe knife” — I quote Kris from Knifewear, Edmonton.

I believe I have perfected this recipe. Adding red wine is optional; if you skip adding the red wine, make sure you substitute it with 1/4 cup of broth of your choice or just water. I used Sawmill Merlot (a fruity BC wine) only because my husband and I were sharing a bottle at home for a mini date night. Since the bottle is a screw top, you can’t keep the wine for too long — it will turn into vinegar.

This is a perfect holiday side dish which you can also freeze for later. It’s easy to make. All you have to do is fry some onions in bacon fat (or lard), coat the slow cooker with the grease from the frying pan using a spatula, “assemble” your remaining ingredients, and turn on the slow cooker on low for 4 to 5 hours. You can start smelling it around the 3.5 hour mark. Don’t peek unless you wanted to some minor taste adjustments.

Tip: You don’t have to use olive oil. You can use any vegetable oil you like before warming up the bacon fat on a moderately hot frying pan. If you don’t have any bacon fat handy, you can fry up some bacon and store the grease in an airtight jar.
To make it vegetarian-friendly, you can opt for butter or vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) instead.
If omitting red wine, subsitute it with 1/4 cup water or broth.

Braised German Red Cabbage
Slow Cooker Red Cabbage
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A delicious German family recipe: braised red cabbage in red wine, lemon juice, apples, cloves and bay leaf for many hours in a slow cooker. Easy to make when you have to feed an army of hungry family members for special occasion side dishes.
Servings
30 sides
Servings
30 sides
Braised German Red Cabbage
Slow Cooker Red Cabbage
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
A delicious German family recipe: braised red cabbage in red wine, lemon juice, apples, cloves and bay leaf for many hours in a slow cooker. Easy to make when you have to feed an army of hungry family members for special occasion side dishes.
Servings
30 sides
Servings
30 sides
Ingredients
Servings: sides
Recipe Notes
  1.  Use a paring knife to core the red cabbage. Cut about 1 to 1.5 inch deep before coring. Use a sharp chef's knife or a mandolin to slice the red cabbage thinly. If using mandolin, please use the safety guard.
  2. Heat pan to moderate high heat. Add olive oil and bacon fat. Fry chopped onions until soft; keep stirring while frying to caramelize the onions.
    Transfer the onions to the slow cooker. Use a spatula to coat the slow cooker with the grease by stirring the fried onions around.
  3. Add cabbage, apples, red wine, sugar, salt, cloves, and bay leaf.
  4. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on low in a slow cooker. (Note: cooking time can vary with type of slow cooker used.)
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6 Responses

  1. Julia (@imagelicious)
    Julia (@imagelicious) / 10-14-2016 / ·

    I am recently all about my slow cooker. I guess it’s because I too have an infant. You are right, cooking with babies is all about planning and pre-slicing, pre-mixing and pre-many-other-things.

  2. Brittany @ i love vegan
    Brittany @ i love vegan / 10-15-2016 / ·

    Braised red cabbage was never served as a holiday side in my family! I’ll have to try this recipe for Christmas. I do love cabbage but I hate slicing it so I usually just run it through my food processor.

  3. Sean@Diversivore
    Sean@Diversivore / 10-17-2016 / ·

    Such a great and classic combination. Apples, bacon, and cabbage just scream German/Polish cooking to me. I’m curious, have you ever tried it with caraway? I love the flavour, though I know some people aren’t quite as partial to it. Regardless, very nice stuff!

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