Fall is the time of year to start pulling out those hearty comfort food recipes. With the temperatures cooling off, it's the perfect time for braised and roasted entrees and sides. If you're like me, you crave hearty foods like warm you up and help fight back that chill. Many of my favorite hearty dishes involve cabbage. Now cabbage may seem a little simple and plain, but when you braise it with bacon, apple cider, and a few spices it transforms into something you'll be ohhhing and ahhhing about.
Braised cabbage is a popular German and Irish dish. It's slow cooked with onions and liquid to pull out the sweetness of the cabbage. My version combines Black Forest smoked bacon, hard apple cider (Magner's brand is my favorite), caraway seeds, and thyme to create a dish that my family craves. The Black Forest bacon is something I get at a local store. It's been rubbed with brown sugar and smoked. It's REALLY good! You can substitute any type of bacon you like. If you want a little added sweetness, substitute brown sugar for the cane sugar. Apple and braised cabbage compliment each other nicely. I add hard cider to add the apple flavor to the cabbage. Cooking with cider is a lot like cooking with beer. After the alcohol burns off, the sugars transform the dish in yummmmmmm.
My family loves this dish with roasted chicken, Sauerbraten, Honey Pecan Pork Chops, and bratwursts. This makes a lot. My family devours this dish with fervor. If you'd like to make a smaller batch, just half the recipe. If you're using hard apple cider, you'll be left with half a bottle of cider. Oh Darn! I guess you'll just have to drink it!
- 6 slices of thick cut bacon
- 1 large white onion, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 large green cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup water, apple juice, or 1 bottle of hard apple cider
- 2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Fry bacon until it is crispy. Remove from pot onto a plate lined with paper towels. Once cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to the bacon drippings. Cook 7-8 minutes until the onion is slightly browned.
- Add sugar and cook for 1 minute.
- Add cabbage, garlic, caraway seeds, thyme, and liquid (water, juice, or cider - depending on which you are using).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Stir occasionally. Add extra water if the cabbage becomes too dry.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.