Oktoberfest: Braised Red Cabbage
By Cheryl Giraud
Special to the Observer
Yodel Away With Braised Red Cabbage
Attention all beer lovers: Hang on to your beer steins because the biggest beer consumption festival of the year is about to begin.
With its official start this Saturday, September 21 in Munich, ‘tis the season of Oktoberfest, which is set to celebrate 180 years of tradition.
Although many cities lay claim to the nation’s largest Oktoberfest gathering, the two-week global party is not just for those of German descent, but is celebrated in cities and communities all over the world.
Originating in Munich, German as a one-day event, Oktoberfest commemorates the 1810 marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen who invited the citizens of Munich to attend their wedding festivities.
Since a good time was had by the Bavarian royal family and the 40,000 citizens who shared in the public celebration of the marriage, which included a large consumption of beer, the festivities were repeated a year later that gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest.
Gaining popularity over the years, Munich today holds the largest Oktoberfest in the world attracting more than six million visitors annually from around the world.
But approximately 5,000 miles away from the beer-centric festivities in Munich, many of America’s Midwestern communities with large Bavarian populations carry on the customs of German immigrants who brought traditions of beer brewing, also celebrate the uber-drinking beer fest.
Cornering the market on the biggest party in America that draws about 500,000 celebrants, Cincinnati is known for hosting the largest beer-drinking party this side of Munich.
It’s customary that beer is the center of the global party. With an estimate of one million gallons of beer consumed during the two-week festival, many other traditions of Oktoberfest include indulging in various types of German food and listening to oompah bands.
With an emphasis on meat consumption, German cuisine is mostly known for heavy and hearty meals. Among the most popular and common are German sausages, boasting to have more than 1,000 varieties.
So, if your Oktoberfest plans don’t include a trip to the granddaddy of all beer festival in Munich, then before unleashing the first keg of Oktoberfest beer, put on your lederhosen and yodel your way to the kitchen to make this side dish for German-style Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Raisins, which is a nice accompaniment to any main course of pork or beef.
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Raisins
2 ½ TBSP butter
1 minced garlic clove
1 medium head purple cabbage, chopped- about 12 cups
¾ cup apple cider
2 tsp caraway seeds
¾ cup raisins
1 gala apple, cut into matchsticks
4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Add cabbage, raisins, caraway seeds and apple cider. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apples and cook covered until the cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar and cook for another 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.