Pedaling in Sauteed Cabbage with Apples

The French have a way with words.  So how do you make spinning your wheels sound charming?  You say you are pedaling in sauerkraut. The French say: pédaler dans la choucroute. 

Last year I was shipping off to Paris around this time.  This year it’s not so much Paris as it is work, school, or—perhaps very soon—the looney bin.  Take your pick.  

Safe to say, impossibly chic French women need not apply here.  I’m knee deep in some pretty unglamorous funk at the moment.  But what I’m realizing is that we’re all up to *here* in it, so it’s best to just slap on some waders and trudge around in the muck. 

Thus, I decided to make use of some cabbage.  Because, well, pedaling around in sauerkraut made me hungry.  Except I didn’t feel like waiting for cabbage to ferment into sauerkraut.  Best not to let things fester, anyhow, when you have a short fuse.  So the cabbage got sautéed with some butter and apple slices and finished with apple cider vinegar and cognac.  (After all, a woman can’t live on pure brandy alone.)

It was just what I needed.  An uncomplicated fall dish, both tangy and sweet.  Quite comforting.  So you’ll likely find me at the market stocking up on heads of cabbage and trudging through the next few weeks.  Cabbage is a lot like life.  Sometimes it stinks.  Just add some brown sugar and brandy and make the best of it.

Sautéed Cabbage with Apples

~4 tbsp butter, divided
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt to season
1 apple, cut into thin strips
A pinch of grains of paradise, ground (alternatively, just use freshly ground black pepper)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
Splash of cognac (or other brandy)

Heat a pan on medium heat and add about two tablespoons of butter.  Add onion slices, a sprinkling of salt, and saute onions until they are nearly translucent; stir in apple slices and grains of paradise (or pepper). Cook until apples soften and then add the cabbage and vinegar; season with salt and cook until the cabbage softens.  Add about 2 more tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, and brandy and cook a minute or two more.

Makes about 4 cups

-The grains of paradise add a nice floral note, but don't let not having them derail you from making this dish.  You can easily just substitute black pepper.


  1. So sorry to read you're still in your funk. This dish reminds me a few dishes my mother -- of German origin whose family spent a dozen years in Provence -- cooked throughout my childhood: A sauerkraut dish with chunks of carrots, seasoned with brown sugar, and a second dish of sauerkraut cooked with apples, hot dogs/sausage and mustard. The scents filled the as soon as the temperature dropped.

  2. Sauerkraut and apples sounds phenomenal. Keep your head up as you get through your funk!

  3. 'cabbage is a lot like life--sometimes it stinks.' i can see it now, that's the next big catchphrase and honestly, what should become my motto in life. trudge onward!

  4. Thanks ladies! Is the world ready for a cabbage catch phrase?! I sure hope so!

    Molly, your mother's cabbage dish sounds like comfort food at its finest. And you have me wondering how it is possible that I didn't think to cook up a sausage link.

  5. great idea--combining apples and cabbage. Yeah fall gets funky because winter is coming:(. Chin up!