One-Pot Wonders

Braised Red Cabbage With Kielbasa, Apple & Mustard Cream

by:
December 21, 2020
5 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
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.
EmilyC

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 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)
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.

  • Noreen Fish
    Noreen Fish
  • kohlrabi
    kohlrabi
  • EmilyC
    EmilyC
  • AnneRufner
    AnneRufner
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.

12 Reviews

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...
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC January 6, 2021
Oh good, so glad! Thanks Roxanne for your note!