My dad is really into genealogy and has tracked our family pretty far back. I don’t know much about his hobby (or those that he’s found through it), but I think it’s pretty cool!
That being said, I don’t really feel much of a connection to my heritage. I know I’m mostly German and Irish (right, dad?!), but my family came to the United States long enough ago that, other than the obvious lineage, I don’t feel like we really have many ties to the culture.
I don’t know the language (neither do any of my living relatives, as far as I know) and I’ve only been to Ireland and Germany once (we don’t have any family members living in these countries that would give us much of a continual reason to visit). We don’t cook the food either. In fact, we don’t even cook German or Irish food on special occasions or holidays.
That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the food. In fact, there are a few German dishes, in particular, that are right up there on my list of favorites. Much of the food is hearty and screams comfort. Jagerschnitzel and spaetzle (I’m such a bad German that I had to look the spelling of both of those dishes up!) were big favorites amongst the family when dining out when I was growing up—especially when we would visit one of our favorite restaurants, Chalet Fondue.
I don’t remember appreciating it when I was younger, but I’ve also grown to love rotkraut. Also known as braised red cabbage or blaukraut.
It’s another hands-off recipe that has bold flavor and makes a great side dish.
In this version, red cabbage is stewed with just a handful of ingredients yet still achieves the same great taste I’ve had at some of the German restaurants I’ve been to. Though I’ve already admitted that I’m no expert in anything German, this is one recipe I don’t make very often yet wonder why that’s the case every time I do make it.
The tender red cabbage tastes slightly pickled (just how I like it!) and pairs particularly well with pork, duck, or sausage.
I know it looks a little scary, but, if you like cabbage, I think you’ll love this dish. I guess it’s not too far from sauerkraut, after all. Though what do I know about German food (other than I love it!)?
Recipe from All Recipes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup sliced green apples
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cabbage is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- (Note: Cooking this dish low and slow lends itself to a better result. Cooking on too high of heat will cause the liquid to evaporate too quickly and can lead to a burned dish.)