Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Sweet and Sour Cabbage 7

You know how last week’s recipe was all about making icky vegetables palatable by smothering them with cheese? Well, let’s call this week’s dish a variation on that theme— as you may or may not be able to tell from the glistening, buttery glop in the photo above.

As far as I can tell from Der Google, this recipe is Danish in origin; there, it’s apparently called “rødkål,” a word I can’t even hope to begin to know how to pronounce. (Do you think it’s like “roadkill”? Like, probably not, right?)

I’ve got no idea at what time of year my Los Angeles-living grandmother could possibly have justified serving something so clearly designed for consumption by frigid Nikolajes and Olavs, vainly huddling together for warmth and cursing their cruel god Elsa—but I do know that this is one veg that I too probably would have eaten as a child, mostly because it transforms wholesome cabbage into a butter-and-sugar delivery system.

Which is kinda weird for a vegetable preparation, when you think about it. (Or is it? After all, corn is a vegetable too.) So maybe… don’t think about it.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage 1

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

4 tablespoons butter [that would be half a stick. Toldja about the butter]
1 onion, chopped
1 small red cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
2 tart apples, peeled, pared, and sliced [I used Pink Ladies, because they are the best apple of all]
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar [a.k.a. “way, way too much”] 
1/3 cup red vinegar
2 tablespoons currant jelly

Sweet and Sour Cabbage 2

Melt butter, add onion, and sauté lightly until tender. Core, shred, and wash cabbage. [A mandoline will save your life here; never leave home without it, if you’re leaving home to slice some cabbage.] 

Add cabbage and sliced apples to pan. Stir in salt, pepper, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add currant jelly, and cook for 10 minutes more.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage 6

The verdict: You see that nice-sized blob of jelly? I’m pretty sure it had little to no effect on how this dish actually tasted, although perhaps a more refined/Nordic palate could have detected its mark. Point being, there’s no need to buy a whole jar of jelly you will almost certainly never finish in order to add two tablespoons of this stuff to this recipe, especially considering just how much sugar is in it.

Speaking of that: There’s too much sugar! There’s too much butter! If you dialed back both, though—and upped the “sour” part of “sweet and sour”—I could see this being a good holiday season-type comfort food, which does you exactly zero good in a month made for outside foods. Even so, I thought you deserved to know. Because I care about you, my tens of readers—and your dangerously low butter intakes.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage 8

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