Sunday, November 26, 2017

German Cuisine with a Dash of Canada from Victoria Hamilton!

Rotkohl… rot-what, you say? Rotkohl… all it means is red cabbage, but it’s the name of this delicious and pretty sidedish. As you may know, Jaymie Leighton (from my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries; Book #6, Leave it to Cleaver came out June 2017)  is now Jaymie Leighton Müller, having married the wonderful Jakob Müller. His family is German, (I have a German-born brother-in-law!) and so I’m sharing a hearty German recipe that freezes well; good thing, because… you will have extra!
1 medium to large head red cabbage, shredded. (You will get purple fingers unless you use gloves!!)
2 – 3 Tbsp butter or oil
1 large onion, diced
3 apples, cored, peeled and shredded or diced.
½ cup red wine (Optional – I didn’t use it and the recipe was just fine without it!)
3 Tbsp cider vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar!)
1 Tsp salt
1 - 2 – Tbsp Maple Syrup, less or more depending on your taste; I’d start with less. (There’s the Canada part! You can use a smaller amount of sugar ½ to 1 tblsp) but maple syrup is better…mmmm!)
½ Tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves (Optional! Only for those who like the spiciness cloves bring.)
¼ Tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Cornstarch (Optional!)
Water… variable amount.

In a large pot heat the oil or butter, or combination. Sauté the onion.

Add the red cabbage and apples. Continue to sauté for several minutes.

Add 1 cup water, (this is when you add the red wine, if you’re using it) cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Stir in. *By the way… interesting note… apparently you always add some acid to red cabbage (vinegar, lemon juice, etc) because otherwise it turns a weird bluish color… who knew?

Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer about 30 – 60 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Check occasionally to be sure it has not dried out; if it seems to be in danger of doing so, just add a bit more water! Mine took longer than this to reach a point where the hard ribs of the cabbage were tender.

Taste and season with more salt, cloves, pepper, syrup and vinegar as needed.

If you want a thicker sauce, mix about 2 tbsp of cornstarch with cold water and slowly stir in just enough to thicken red cabbage liquid.

Note: Traditionally Rotkohl is cooked down until it is very mushy, but you can adjust this for your preference. I like it somewhat textured, but very tender. I’ve made this dish twice. The first time was with a smaller, lighter weight red cabbage, and it cooked faster, but this time the ribs of the cabbage leaves were thicker and it took a lot more time. So… give it time. This beautiful dish freezes well for a quick vegetable another night. Just let it cool, put whatever you’re not using in a freezer bag, seal, flatten (so it will thaw quickly) and freeze.

Note #2: some of the traditional recipes I saw asked for juniper berries, but short of scouring the neighborhood for a juniper bush, (Perhaps while humming Jennifer Juniper – it’s a Donovan song… aaaand I’m showing my age.) I didn’t know where to find them. I’ve since learned you can buy them (online, if necessary) but most of the recipes don’t take them, so… I’ll pass.

Serve with: This is a great side dish that pairs well with sausage. I’ll be having mine with locally made maple garlic sausage! And it’s sooo pretty! If you like, you can sauté some bacon and heat up your leftover rotkohl in the frying pan! Bon Apetit, my friends, or, as they say in Germany, Guten Appetit, meine Freunde!

And now that you’re full… would you like a giveaway??
Comment here and you will be entered for a chance to win this cute mug (Have a Cozy Christmas!) a skull teaspoon (VERRRRY cool!) as well as a copy of Leave it to Cleaver with a Christmassy bookmark! Open to US and Canadian addresses. Comment before Midnight, November 30th!

And… don’t miss Jaymie and her gang next spring for No Grater Danger, out spring of 2018!
Check out my Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries or find me on Facebook: Author Victoria Hamilton