Braised Red Cabbage & Cherries

I used to have a Belgian Grandma named Elza who played a lot of solitaire.

(On the other side of the family – no relation to my (only) Grandad.)

Unfortunately I have no memory of her cooking. I have somewhere a three-page hand-written receipt on foolscap for Carbonnade of Beef, and I know she used to make braised red cabbage, but having lived the last of her years in the southern states and not wanting to fly, I don’t think she ever made it for me. I never got her recipe. Then again, I have no idea if it was any good.

My pal Sue is now the authority on braised red cabbage in my world. She makes it with Okanagan cherries she dries herself every year, but not completely – she leaves some moisture in them, so that they’re a little bit squishy and juicy, like a raisin that has been plumped in booze. Because they aren’t completely dry, they need to be frozen. It was the discovery (most likely by force of gravity) of a small baggie of said cherries in my freezer (and half a ginormous red cabbage in my fridge) that prompted me to make a batch. It’s one of those things – like beef bourguignon – that’s ever so satisfying to simmer in a cast iron pot over the course of an afternoon.

And its bright purpleness and tang somehow brightens up those bleak midwinter veggie blahs.

Braised red cabbage & cherries 1
Braised red cabbage & cherries 1

Braised Red Cabbage & Cherries


March 24, 2012

adapted from Sheila Lukins’ All Around the World Cookbook

  • Makes: Serves 6-10.


2 Tbsp. butter

1 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup red wine

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste


1Preheat the oven to 325F.

2Set a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and heat the butter until it melts. When the foaming subsides, add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat until warmed through, then put the lid on and pop it into the oven for an hour or two - closer to two. The cabbage will be cooked through, and the liquid thickened a bit. Taste and add a little more honey and/or vinegar as you like to suit your taste (or apple juice if it needs a bit more liquid) and bake a little longer or simmer on the stovetop with the lid off if you want to cook it down a bit.

3It's better after a day or two in the fridge; serve immediately or cool and refrigerate until you're ready for it.


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9 comments on “Braised Red Cabbage & Cherries

  1. CathyH
    March 25, 2012 at 7:55 am

    This sounds wonderful! I have a similar recipe with cranberries and cranberry juice.

  2. Barb
    March 25, 2012 at 8:24 am

    What a unique idea! Cooking with what you have rises to the top again.

  3. Vivian
    March 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

    This is exactly what I’ve had a hankering for in this last week since Old Man Winter raised his feeble fist to pound Central Alberta one last time before Mistress Spring kicks his bony nether end outta here! Perfect, Thanks Julie. Nice photo BTW with the soft suggestion of pussy willows in the jar.

  4. Laurie from Burnaby
    March 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t like cherries. My German grandmother used to make braised red cabbage with apples, a little bit of vinegar, and brown sugar. she didn’t use water because the apples and cabbage had enough, and cooked it over a low heat for ages so that it came out all toffeed. wonderful stuff. Sometimes she added bacon to it, too, which was heavenly.

  5. Fiona
    March 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Oh my! That sounds amazing. I’m sending it to my mom so she puts it on a dinner menu sometime. I’d make it myself but we just dismantled kitchen #2, so the bulk of my cooking for the next few months will consist of whatever I can heat in a microwave, soak in hot water, or cook on the BBQ.

  6. Ashley
    March 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I have yet to try braised cabbage. I’ll definitely have to try this one!

  7. Brigid
    March 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I make this all the time. Addictive!

  8. Phillip
    December 16, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Just made a batch of this for the first time. Not going to Germany Xmas shopping this year, so missing the trad German cuisine. I was too intimidated by red cabbage to begin with (why?!?) until I found this recipe, which is really easy. Just needs another 24 hours in the fridge to complete, but tastes divine already!

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