IMG_20151003_181626watermarkOver the years, I’ve tried to find a “go to” recipe for most vegetables. A recipe that takes the vegetable from “I should eat this, its healthy” to “is there any more in the pan” status. Cabbage was a tough one for me. Cabbage is inexpensive. It shows up on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15 List“. That is, vegetables that, even when conventionally grown, don’t have much pesticide residue. And, partially because it’s in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower and kale (the Brassica’s) its super healthy. Full of fiber, nutrition, and anti-oxidants. But, if cooked wrong, it can also be stinky and unappetizing. So, a few years ago, I was searching for cooked cabbage recipes that were not just good, but something I would look forward to.

This recipe originally came from Eating Well, a magazine I’ve had a subscription to for years. I’ve modified it a bit (mostly, I use whatever type of sausage I have on hand – often homemade – rather than sticking solely to the chicken sausage they recommend). This has become one of my go-to recipes in the fall, as fresh apple cider starts to make an appearance in the grocery stores, and the nights have a nip in them. One of the best parts is that it literally comes together in less than 30 minutes.

As an aside, I attended first through fourth grade in Twin Falls Idaho in the early 1970’s. The area has a lot of German heritage, and they served sauerkraut in the cafeteria, to elementary aged kids. It came out of big #10 cans. You could tell it was a kraut day by the smell, all over the school, in the mornings. It smelled like vomit. I didn’t eat sauerkraut (didn’t even try it!) until I was in my late 20’s because of how it smelled when I was a kid. If you think you don’t like sauerkraut because all you’ve ever smelled/seen came from a can, please, give it a chance. When made well, fresh like this or fermented, its fantastic.

Sausage with Apple and Quick Pan Sauerkraut
Serves 4 if you are a light eater. Three if you aren’t.

  • 12-16 oz sausage links of choice. We used bratwurst in this recipe. Any pork, turkey or chicken sausage would work, as long as it wouldn’t clash with the sweetness of the apples.
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small green or red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded (around 1 lb). Yes, you can buy already shredded cabbage, but it will increase the price of this recipe considerably.  Whole cabbage lasts in the fridge for a really long time and takes only a few minutes to slice up.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup apple cider, preferably from the refrigerated section, rather than shelf stable bottled stuff.
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (we cut the amount of caraway in half from the original 1 tsp and lightly grind ours, as we don’t like the intensity of biting into whole caraway seeds – use more if you love it).

Cook sausages in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm.

Heat a swirl of olive oil in the pan and add onion and apple. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, which should take a few minutes. Add the cabbage, vinegar and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage is just wilted, a few minutes. Add apple cider and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil. Return sausages to pan and cover. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sausages are heated through and the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes.

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