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How to Make Ale-braised Red Cabbage with Kielbasa

Ale-braised red cabbage and Kielbasa

This is a great variable vegetarian recipe. If you were to skip the Kielbasa altogether, it would still be tasty (but why bother?). Or, you could load up on the meat.

We used the Kielbasa that we had in the freezer left over from making Casoulet. I’d say it was probably a little over one foot long. In the end it yielded about three half-inch pieces of Kielbasa per serving of cabbage, which was perfect for being on the lighter side while adding meaty flavor.

Ale-braised Red Cabbage with Kielbasa

Makes 4-6 servings


Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
(* Union Sq. Greenmarket)
1 Red cabbage (2 – 2.5 lbs) Shredded Northshire Farm *
As desired Kielbasa Cut into 1/2 inch pieces Grazin’ Angus Acres *
2 Yellow onions Thinly sliced Paffenroth Gardens *
2 cups Amber ale Drink the remainder Whole Foods
1 TBsp Olive oil
0.25 cup Malt vinegar
2.5 tsp Caraway seeds Whole seeds



  1. Slice the onions as thinly as possible.

    When looking for long, thin slices, I treat an onion like a globe. I cut off the north and south “poles”, then I cut the onion in half from pole to pole. You can see the “lines of longitude” within the halves. I then cut the halves in half, in the same direction, forming “long” quarter-onions.

    Finally, I lay each quarter down flat and cut in parallel to my last cut, as thinly as I can. At no point do I cross the “lines of longitude” and cut against the grain. If you do, you will get diced onion instead of slices (in fact, that’s how I dice an onion).

    Onions, halved (notice the "lines of longitude")Onions, thinly sliced

  2. Slice the cabbage in half, and then quarters. Using an angled cut, cut out the thick white “stem” from each quarter.

    Red cabbage, halvedRemove the core / stem

  3. Next, shred the cabbage into half-inch ribbons by slicing each quarter perpendicular to the stem-line.

    Slice the cabbage into ribbonsShredded red cabbage

  4. Cut the Kielbasa into half-inch pieces. It’s already cooked, so you really just need to reheat it and brown it to the right texture.

    In a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the Kielbasa and cook for about 5 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally, until browned. Remove the pieces and put them aside in a bowl (or plate). Use tongs if possible to avoid taking any of the cooking juices with the sausage.

    Browning the KielbasaBrowned Kielbasa

  5. Add the onion to the still-hot skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are softened and slightly browned. Add the caraway seeds and cook for another minute, stirring.

    Cooking the onionsBrowned onions and caraway seeds

  6. Add the cabbage to the pan. Add back the Kielbasa, as well as any liquid that may have been removed with the Kielbasa pieces. Stir in the ale and the malt vinegar. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring the liquid to a rolling simmer (near-boil), then immediately turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

    Even though it sounds like a high culinary skill, this is all there is to braising: “a cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid.” No sweat!

    Before the liquidOur choice of amber ale

  7. Plate and serve. Winner! Or should I say “Winning! (Duh.)”

Ale-braised red cabbage and Kielbasa

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