Friday, December 23, 2016
Rødkål: a Festive Side Dish
At a Christmas gathering some years ago, a friend whose birthday happens to be on Christmas Eve shared this bright, sweet-and-sour casserole. She tells me it's a "very traditional Danish dish, served with pork roast or duck or goose [or turkey, in our case], and not only at Christmas, but definitely part of Christmas dinner." (Rødkål translates as "red cabbage" and leads me to believe that this is really the only way to serve red cabbage in Denmark.)
She was kind enough to share her personal recipe. I've adapted it to work in a crockpot, which meant cutting the quantities in half. It makes fantastic leftovers or a pretty pot-luck contribution.
1/4 cup of margarine or butter
1 head of red (purple) cabbage, shredded (exclude the core)
1 cup water
3 apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
Although my adaptation of this recipe uses a crockpot, it does require some attention in the early part.
Set crockpot to high (4 hours)
Melt butter in microwave then add to crockpot.
Add shredded cabbage and stir so that it is coated with the fat. Stir it periodically. With my crockpot, it took about half an hour before the cabbage actually was hot enough to start cooking.
After an hour, when the cabbage has boiled down, add the apples and continue to turn the mixture. Cook for about an hour to an hour and a half, adding another cup of water periodically, but just enough to ensure that it does not burn.
Reduce the heat on your crockpot to low (8 hours). Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add vinegar and stir thoroughly.
This can be made way ahead and simply heated before serving. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge and is also good with roast or anything else you would put gravy on. My friend tells me that Danes also use it to decorate open-faced sandwiches.
(My aunt, who does not like vinegar makes a similar dish with less sugar and no vinegar.)