A little savory, a little sweet, a little sour…and SO delicious! Rode Kool met Appeltjes (Red Cabbage with Apples) is a delicious and healthy side that brightens up any meal!
Cabbage is a popular vegetable all over the world, and for good reason. Hearty, healthy, and able to stand up to strong flavors, it adds a little “something” to all kinds of meals.
In The Netherlands, one of the most popular ways of eating red cabbage is to slow braise it with aromatics like bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon, along with some vinegar and tart apples for brightness. It is generally served with Hachee (stewed beef) and potatoes, but goes great with pork, as well. Really, it goes great with just about any rich main dish!
Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s loaded with health benefits as well! Red cabbage is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. I’ll never forget when my mama-in-law, Maria, found out that I was pregnant with her first grandbaby, she broke with our Sunday tradition of a simple meal with frietjes (fries) and went all out with hachee, mashed potatoes, and this cabbage recipe. When asked why she went to all the trouble, she said that she wanted to make sure I had a healthy meal and knew I didn’t feel up to cooking. So sweet…and my husband and father-in-law didn’t miss their beloved Sunday frietjes because the meal was so good!
Tips for Making Braised Red Cabbage with Apples (Rode Kool met Appeltjes):
-Feel free to use whatever type of apples you have on hand or prefer. I definitely recommend Granny Smiths or another type of sour apple, but I’ve also made it with sweeter types and it turned out just fine!
-Never wash your cabbage. Just take off the outer leaves. Also, make sure you cut out the core; it’s too tough.
-You can use plain white vinegar if you don’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand.
-This recipe uses ground cloves, but you can certainly use whole cloves if you prefer. Just make sure to remove them when you take out the bay leaves.
-You can absolutely make this recipe a day or so ahead…in fact, it tastes better the next day!
How to Make Braised Red Cabbage (Rode Kool met Appeltjes):
Take the outside leaves off of your head of red cabbage. If it is a smaller head, remove the core (cut the cabbage in half, and cut the core out of each half). If it is a large head, cut it in half and reserve one half for later use, making sure to remove the core from the half you’re using. Dice the cabbage and place it in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add enough water to almost cover the cabbage (about 1 1/2 cups in the pan I use), and add all of the spices, then bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and vinegar. Cover and let simmer until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.
Once the cabbage has cooked, add the peeled, diced apples and continue to cook until these are tender. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Taste for salt, sugar, and vinegar, adding more if needed. Stir in the butter. Finally, make a slurry with the cornstarch and stir this into the pot. Cook for a minute or two, until the braising liquid is slightly thickened.
Rode Kool met Appeltjes goes great with:
Rode Kool met Appeltjes (Dutch Red Cabbage with Apples)
- 1/2 Head Red Cabbage, or 1 Small Head
- 1/2 Stick Cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves or 2 Whole Cloves
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 1/2 Cups Water approx.
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 Sour Apples, such as Granny Smith, diced
- 2 tsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch + 1 Tbsp Water
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Remove the outer leaves from the head of cabbage, remove the core, and dice the cabbage. Place in a heavy bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Add enough water to nearly cover the cabbage, along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
- Bring to a slow boil over medium high heat, then add the sugar and vinegar. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Allow to simmer to for 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.
- Add the apples and continue simmering until they are tender.
- Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Taste for salt, vinegar, and sugar, adding more as needed.
- Stir in the butter.
- Create a slurry by mixing the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir the slurry into the cabbage and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes to thicken.