Happy Oktoberfest! Let’s celebrate with My Mom’s bratwurst mit rotkraut: German sausages with braised red cabbage.
Crack open a beer and get cracking on this recipe! It won’t take long, and the whole family will be delighted.
Since Brats are a nice, mild sausage (kiddos love them), you can really highlight the rotkraut and make it special. My Mom’s version uses onion, apple, vinegar, a touch of sugar and, of course, the wonderful caraway seed (which reminds me so much of all things German.)
It’s funny, growing up I was decidedly not a fan of rotkraut. Tante Helga (my Mother’s sister) would cook up big vats of the stuff since all my cousins could not get enough of it. It was the Friday night “meal of the week.” Since I’ve re-visited this recipe as an adult, I’ve mended my ways. And Lucia eats it delightedly.
All month I’ll be honoring my Mother with her recipes, or recipes inspired by her, in the Cooking with My Mother section of the Blog. Please let me know how you like it: and if you have any German recipes or memories to share, I would so love to hear. Use the comments section below.
½ head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
4 ounces bacon, sliced into lardons
1 onion, diced
1 cup red or white wine (both work!)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted
6 Bratwurst(from your favorite butcher!)
2 hearty splashes of beer (one for you, one for the Brats)
In a large skillet, render the lardons over medium heat. Once you have a nice amount of fat to work with and the bacon is beginning to crisp, add the onion and lower the heat. Once the onion is soft and transluscent, add the cabbage, caraway seeds, wine, vinegar, and sugar. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the diced apples, cover again, and continue to cook another 10 minutes. Now taste – you want it to be a balance between sweet and sour - so add a touch more sugar or vinegar to your liking!
Lightly score the brats with a pairing knife. Heat the beer in another skillet, add the brats, and simmer for about 10 minutes in the beer. Transfer to a hot grill of oven to finish cooking. Some love this with a nice stoneground mustard. For me, the rotkraut, a great beer, and my Mom is all the companionship needed.