One-Pot Wonders

Braised Red Cabbage With Kielbasa, Apple & Mustard Cream

December 21, 2020
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This cozy one-pan dinner is the type of low-effort, high-reward meal to keep on repeat for cold, busy nights. It’s inspired by Molly Steven’s Red Cabbage Braised with Maple & Ginger from All About Braising, which itself is a nod to classic German sweet and sour red cabbage. I’ve been making her recipe for years—mostly on the weekends, since it takes over an hour from start to finish.

For my weeknight version, I added kielbasa to take the dish from side to main. I also cut the cooking time in half by charring thin wedges of the cabbage in butter and oil first before adding the braising liquid, a simple step that builds a ton of smoky-sweet flavor. By transferring the dish to a hot oven (versus finishing it on the stovetop), you get tender, almost silky cabbage, a richly concentrated sauce, and browned, ultra-crispy kielbasa. Whatever you do, don’t sleep on the mustard cream that you brush over the kielbasa, cabbage, and apples near the end of its roasting time—it adds an extra layer of texture, flavor, and richness (a trick that happily extends to other braises, as well).

A few notes and tips: Feel free to substitute green cabbage (regular or Savoy) for the red, as well as other types of smoked or pre-cooked sausages for the kielbasa. Fresh sausage such as bratwurst can also be used, though it may need slightly longer in the oven to cook through. Lastly, this is a great meal to prep as you cook. I’ve written the instructions that way below.

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 medium red cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds for the full head)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounces to 14 ounces smoked kielbasa
  • 1 large firm-crisp apple, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill, plus more for serving (or substitute chives or parsley)
  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Trim the cabbage of any discolored or bruised outer leaves. Cut in half, saving the other half for another use (such as a quick slaw or salad!). Slice into 1/2-inch wedges, leaving the core intact, yielding 8 to 10 wedges. It’s fine if some of the slices fall apart; use them too!
  3. In a 12- or 14-inch saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add cabbage wedges; they should fit snugly into the pan. Generously season the side that’s facing up with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, without disturbing, to promote even browning, then flip and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, seasoning again with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together chicken stock, cider vinegar, and maple syrup. Add them to the pan with the cabbage, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prep the kielbasa and apple. Score the kielbasa with a knife at roughly 1/2-inch intervals (without cutting all the way through) to help it crisp up in the oven. Cut the apple into 1/2-inch slices (no need to peel).
  6. Add the apples, nestling them among the cabbage, then lay the kielbasa on top. Drizzle the kielbasa with a little olive oil.
  7. Transfer to the oven. Braise, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, mix together mustard, cream, and dill. At the 20-minute mark, remove the pan from the oven and brush everything with the mustard cream (getting between the score marks in the kielbasa). Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and kielbasa is nicely browned. (If you want to braise the cabbage longer, remove the kielbasa at this point so it doesn’t overcook.) Garnish with more chopped dill. Serve warm. Buttered egg noodles make a good (but totally optional) side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Miguel Esteban
    Miguel Esteban
  • Noreen Fish
    Noreen Fish
  • kohlrabi
  • EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

17 Reviews

Miguel E. April 15, 2023
This is an outstanding weeknight, or company night meal for fall or winter evenings. True comfort food. Simple to prepare in less than 1 hour. The key IMHO is to really sear off the purple cabbage on mod-high or high heat to give it a good caramelized char on both sides. And do not fear for lack of fresh dill or parsley. Either or both are very good, but dried dill, parsley, thyme all work.
Violet L. February 5, 2023
I can't believe that I just gave this recipe 2 stars! I just changed my rating to 5 stars, which is what I should have done in the first place.
Violet L. January 15, 2023
I first made this dish about 3-4 months back, and have prepared it 3 more times since then. On the first night, the umami flavor practically knocked my socks off! Since then the dish has been very good, but not as outstanding as the first time. I cut the core out of the cabbage the first night, and used Weisswurst sausage because I prefer it. I have continued to use the Weisswurst but have not forgotten to leave the core on the slices of cabbage. The core is not the only change I have made in the recipe, as I have also forgotten to use the dill. As this is one of the best recipes I have in my kitchen library, I will continue to try to duplicate my first effort. I serve this about once a month to my little family. Kudos, EmilyC!
ajmencke October 9, 2022
This recipe was so easy and so tasty. Probably the only small issue is some ingredients needed - like fresh dill. Easily solved with other more available herbs. I made it for guests and it was a huge hit. No modifications.
dizzylizzy October 2, 2022
Really delish Fall meal! I doubled it for a group of 6 adults and 4 kids; and did the second braise in the grill as my oven is currently out of commission and it was great. Next time I might dial back the vinegar just a smidge. I will be making it again!
AnneRufner April 6, 2021
This was excellent! My Husband is not a cabbage lover - until last night! I did not have an oven safe pan large enough (especially since I doubled recipe)... so, I used two of my largest skillets and followed the recipe through step 5. Then, I transferred the cabbage only to a 15x21 foil-lined rimmed sheet pan, added apples and kielbasa (step 6), then poured skillet liquid over all and continued for steps 7 & 8. Be sure to use the dill in the mustard sauce. May increase the braising liquid next time. Highly recommend. Thank you...
EmilyC April 6, 2021
So happy you made and liked this, Anne, and thanks for including your notes on doubling the recipe! Thanks so much for circling back.
muzac_luver_12 February 21, 2021
So tasty! I served with pierogi cooked in brown butter and sage and I had some chicken sausage links for the meat. I didn't have cream, so I used a splash of milk and a scoop of mayo to thicken the sauce it a bit. Turned out great! Definitely adding this to my rotation
Noreen F. February 7, 2021
This was the perfect recipe for a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon. My cabbage was pretty small, so I used it all plus added a red onion. Delicious served over mashed potatoes!
EmilyC February 8, 2021
Fantastic! And over mashed potatoes -- yum! Thanks, Noreen, for trying this and circling back.
kohlrabi January 19, 2021
This is my new favorite recipe for German-style cabbage. All the flavors in this dish come together so well. The only change I would make is to double the mustard cream. I used whole milk in place of cream. Kiolbassa was great but you could substitute any smoked sausage. Served this with homemade buttered egg noodles.
EmilyC January 19, 2021
Yay, so happy to hear this, kohlrabi! Doubling the mustard cream sounds like a good idea to me. : )
kohlrabi January 19, 2021
This is my new favorite recipe for German-style cabbage. All the flavors in this dish come together so well. The only change I would make is to double the mustard cream. I used whole milk in place of cream. Kiolbassa was great but you could substitute any smoked sausage.
Heather M. January 6, 2021
Made this for dinner tonight as written - fantastic! And, yes, buttered noodles are a great side for this.
EmilyC January 7, 2021
Wonderful! Thanks for your note, Heather.
Roxanne January 5, 2021
Made this without the kielbasa and it was delicious. My new fave red cabbage recipe.
EmilyC January 6, 2021
Oh good, so glad! Thanks Roxanne for your note!