Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Viennese Bratwurst with Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage

When Mrs Ribeye and I travelled to Vienna in Austria last Easter, we stayed at the Adagio Zentrum Aparthotel, which was a brand new block of studio-style hotel rooms with small kitchenettes, right in Vienna city centre. Utterly brilliant, because it meant I could cook some Potless specialities while we were there, and save our money for other pursuits, rather than paying for the world's dearest meal (Zum Schwarzen Kameel ['The Black Camel'] springs to mind - £180 per head. Thank heavens I wasn't paying THAT night!)

Anyway, Vienna is where I discovered Austrian Potato Salad, and where we invited our friends, Bea, Danielle and Renee over to our hotel to sample some home-cooked local delights.

I decided to cook this dish, because  the local deli stocked the most incredible array of sausages I had ever seen. Large, small, long, fat and thin chicken, veal, beef and, of course, pork frankfurters lined the shelves of the display cases, and I bought a large selection, with a jar of the hot local mustard to eat with them.

But what to serve with them? Potatoes are too boring, and I wanted to cook something a bit more authentic and complimentary to the richness, smokiness and saltiness of the sausages. So, sweet and sour braised red cabbage it was. And what a decision that turned out to be.

This dish is now a local London favourite of mine. Just buy the best bratwurst you can find, and the cheap cost of the other ingredients of this peasant-style dish will still keep the recipe under budget at £2.50 per serving. Dijon or English mustard works just as well as Austrian mustard, if you can't find any near where you live.

Serves 4


1 large red cabbage, shredded
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm dice
100g sultanas
Juice of a lemon
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of sugar
Pinches of salt and pepper

1kg bratwurst
Hot Austrian (or Dijon, or English) mustard, to serve

To make the red cabbage: In a large pan combine all ingredients (except the bratwurst and mustard) in a pan and cook with the lid on, on a low to moderate heat, until soft and translucent and any liquid has evaporated (1.5 hours approx). Serve with the bratwurst and mustard on the side.

In the meantime, in a large pan of water, simmer the bratwurst on a low heat, to prevent bursting, until cooked (30 minutes approx).

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