Scandinavian Red Cabbage

I made Scandinavian Red Cabbage for Christmas Eve this year.  And I did it knowing it was one of those recipes… an old family dish that your grandmother has made for decades. No recipe. Not even a measuring cup.  And if you aren’t careful, it will disappear forever. 

Scandinavian Red Cabbage

Scandinavian Red Cabbage

No pressure.   

It was a fine success that night but, alas, Christmas meant I was too busy to write anything down.  So with a new case of red cabbage in my refrigerator, it was time to try again.  This time I’d get it on the blog. 

Scandinavian Red Cabbage, Served

Scandinavian Red Cabbage, Served

Now there is one big problem I always have in recreating a recipe… nutrition.  Yes, typically when I find out how much butter or sugar or salt is in the original, I just can’t do it—at least not as written (or in this case, as described).  Fortunately, this recipe wasn’t bad and with all the phytochemicals in red cabbage, I guess it can handle a little butter and sugar!

Cut red cabbage

Cut red cabbage

My mother’s instructions were basically “cook finely cut red cabbage in butter and keep adding vinegar and sugar until it tastes like you remember.”  Um, yah…  So I started with online recipes for German and Danish red cabbage .  These contained apples and cranberry juice, respectively, (which I’m sure is delicious) but I wanted to stick with my family’s simpler version—just red cabbage, butter, vinegar, salt and sugar. 

And I’m trying to focus more on recipes that don’t require a trip to the grocery store–do you end up with, oh, 63 additional items when you step into the store?

Cooking Scandinavian Red Cabbage

Cooking Scandinavian Red Cabbage

When I was done, it was slightly less sweet/sour than my mothers, but was very good.  Interestingly, the cabbage cooked down to about half of the original which didn’t leave as much as I wanted to freeze, so next time I am starting with two cabbages! 

Scandinavian Red Cabbage Up Close

Scandinavian Red Cabbage Up Close

There is one final difference between these and my mother’s version, which I consider optional depending on how closely you are willing to watch the pot.  She lets it cook to the point where the bottom layer is caramelizing—turning brown and sweet on the bottom of the pot.  Then she deglazes the pan with water, scrapping up all the brown bits, and repeats until it has a deep, rich flavor.  I have done it this way—and it’s amazing.  But if I am pinched for time, or multitasking and not paying attention, it is still delicious if you skip the final step.  

red-cabbage-with-plates

Scandinavian Red Cabbage
Serves 10
Sweet-sour and savory, Scandinavian Red Cabbage is a traditional holiday dish that pairs well with pork or poultry. Healthy and tasty!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 40 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 40 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
75 calories
13 g
6 g
2 g
1 g
1 g
107 g
731 g
10 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
107g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 75
Calories from Fat 21
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
4%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 6mg
2%
Sodium 731mg
30%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
20%
Vitamin C
80%
Calcium
4%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegetable oil for a vegan version)
  2. • 1 medium to large red cabbage, cut finely (about 12 cups shredded)
  3. • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. • 1/3 cup white sugar
  5. • 1 Tablespoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat butter (or oil) in a large dutch oven or stock pot.
  2. Add cabbage, salt, vinegar and sugar and stir well to make sure salt is well distributed.
  3. Cover pan and let cook on medium low for about 10 minutes, checking periodically to make sure that cabbage is releasing its juices and that liquid isn't cooking out.
  4. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until cabbage is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Cabbage can be served at this point or can be caramelized (see below).
  5. Optional final step. Increase heat to medium or medium high and cook until bottom layer of cabbage starts to brown. Deglaze the pan with a little water, stir cabbage, and repeat until desired level of caramelization is reached.
Notes
  1. This freezes very well.
beta
calories
75
fat
2g
protein
1g
carbs
13g
more
Art of Natural Living https://artofnaturalliving.com/
Tagged on:

21 thoughts on “Scandinavian Red Cabbage

  1. Kathy

    Inger, My Hungarian grandmother used to make a version of red cabbage quite often. Of course no one had the recipe…there was none! I always enjoyed it, especially with pork roast. Yours looks luscious! A perfect dish for Christmas!

    1. Inger Post author

      When I was researching online I saw versions from a number of countries, so it looks like this dish was widely popular! I am so happy I finally got it written down! Next Christmas I need to do my (other) grandmother’s gingerbread (which I have already failed at once…)!

  2. Beth

    This sounds terrific. It’s so hard trying to recreate unwritten family recipes, and it sounds like you did wonderfully!

    1. Inger Post author

      I am relieved not to have to try making it “by taste” again! As I mentioned to Kathy, now onto our family gingerbread–which I know really will be a challenge.

  3. Louise

    Oh Inger, I am so delighted to see that you are sharing a family recipe from the heart (and yes mind, taste and memory too:)

    I have a jar of Red Cabbage in the fridge which Marion insisted she buy. I just can’t bring myself to serve it. I would LOVE to make it from scratch. I remember my “adopted” aunt making Norwegian Cabbage much the same way. She always served it warm. Do you serve yours warm? Other recipes I see always say to chill it. I think I would like to try it warmed, or even hot!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Inger…I look forward to the Gingerbread! (no problem waiting though I don’t want Winter or Christmas back just yet:)

    1. Inger Post author

      I do serve it hot Louise.

      And I’ll let you in on a little secret. If my mother is feeling too lazy to slice cabbage, she will sometimes start with canned red cabbage and then run it through her recipe. I probably won’t be doing that because (as you can tell from all the whining) I am perpetually buried in fresh (or nearly fresh) vegetables, even in the dark of winter. But I guess it’s a good problem to have!

  4. Karen

    Thanks so much for this post! I made it and really liked it. I think I made a small mistake though. When you are on step 4 and cook it for 1 1/2 hours, do you leave the lid off? I left mine on and it took me forever too cook and left the cabbage a little mushy. Still tasty though. Thanks!

    1. Inger Post author

      You know it wouldn’t surprise me if I didn’t do part covered and part uncovered 🙂 You want it to reduce some, but not so much that it burns before it is tender. I will probably make this again soon (just bought another case of red cabbage!) and I will pay closer attention and update the recipe. Thanks for commenting and glad you enjoyed it Karen!

    1. Inger Post author

      Isn’t red cabbage wonderful! I just stopped over to your blog and you have some beautiful recipes! I am going to have to try the potato pie with salmon and a few more!

    1. Inger Post author

      I should try it with apples some time Marina. I am always looking for ways to get additional fruits and vegetables in my diet. You have a beautiful blog BTW. Your photography is amazing!

  5. Jan Quiroz

    Thanks so much for the detailed recipe. I like to eat it warm with turkey or pork, but it is also delicious on Danish open face sandwiches. For example use some Danish or German hard rye or pumpernickel bread cut in narrow rectangles. Top with any type mustard or mayo, thinly sliced ham or turkey, and finish with a spoonful of red cabbage. Often instead of the cabbage I put a couple of bread and butter pickle chips on each one. That’s how my Danish Mom used to prepare them. Delicious.

    1. Inger Post author

      How fun! My grandparents were from Denmark. Were you looking for recipe suggestions?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


css.php