In my family, we have a rather odd traditional Thanksgiving dish. My parents meshed dishes from each of their family’s heritage to come up with our typical turkey day menu. From my dad’s German roots, we get pickled red cabbage. It is somewhat like sauerkraut, but sightly sweeter and more flavorful. While others might crinkle their nose, it just doesn’t feel like thanksgiving to me unless the aroma of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie mingles with the smell of red cabbage stewing in apple cider vinegar. There are many variations of this recipe floating around my family, but this is how (after a year of toying with the recipe) I have come to make it.
1 head red cabbage
apple cider vinegar (amount unknown, a few cups, but my dad and grandma would tell you “as much as it takes”)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion finely diced (I only use about 1/4 of it)
1 cup (or so) brown sugar
1 bay leaf
ground cloves to taste
Cut the cabbage into large chunks and put into a food processor. You can finely chop it by hand, but it saves a lot of time to use the food processor for a whole cabbage. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the cabbage. Pour vinegar over the vegetables until it is nearly covered. Add the brown sugar, bay leaf, and cloves. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for several hours, adding more vinegar as needed. If you don’t want sour cabbage, add water to the pot as the vinegar cooks down, and add more brown sugar. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
This is a great dish to serve with pork as well. It freezes well, which is convenient since one head makes quite a bit.
An attempt to make trying new vegetables fun and exciting, turned into the realization that a red cabbage leaf makes a wonderful klingon costume! We now have the tradition of wearing cabbage hats any time Mom makes the dish.