Author Notes: I came up with this many years ago after traveling to France and experiencing the wonderful combination of smoked meats and sweet cabbage. There are many variations of the classic French dish but over the years I've really pared it down to a handful of ingredients - easily purchased at the local supermarket. It's definitely not something you want to serve often or in the summer but on a cold winter afternoon - this will make you a star in your kitchen and with your family. It's kid friendly because of the hot dogs and can also be a great one-pot wonder to entertain with on the weekends.
For the cabbage braise:
- 1 Head of cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 Sweet large onion
- 2 Apples, pealed, cored chopped
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 1-2 Bottles of good Pilsner-style beer
- 1 teaspoon Caraway seeds
- 8 Juniper Berries
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Splash of white wine
- Salt and Pepper
Brats: Here any combination of smoked brats/wursts will do - also smoked ham or other meat will work just fine.
- 1 package of bratwurst
- 1 package of good hot dogs
- 1/2 package of German veal sausage (white)
- 4 Links of sweet Italian sausage (optional)
- 1 Kielbasa cut into large pieces (optional)
- Pre-heat over to 325. Sweat onion in a large Dutch oven for until translucent and then add cabbage and rest of ingredients. (Add one can/bottle of beer at first and reserve rest for later) Cook for 5 minutes or so on stovetop and then transfer, covered into oven. Cook for at least an hour - checking periodically to make sure nothing is burning and stirring in more beer if too dry. You can braise this as long as you like, the flavors just get better and deeper.
- After about at 1 or 1 1/2, add a combination of smoked "brats" or "wursts" from your store. I like to cook them until they puff up and the casings start to crack. About a half hour. Again keep stirring and checking pot periodically. After a few hours you have a wonderful dish you can serve with dark bread, a variety of mustards and great beer! PS Fish out Bay and Juniper berries (if you can) before serving.