Sunday, September 9, 2012

Recipe: Sweet-n-Sour Cabbage with Hot Sausage, updated with Pix!

There's a little back story on this recipe. My mother in law had a falling-apart diabetic cookbook from the 60s, and in it there was a recipe she found for sweet and sour cabbage. Either she or I (and it was probably she) came up with the idea to add the hot link sausage to it, and I've been making it ever since.  I've passed this recipe down to tons of people, and even had it privately published in a cookbook at my place of employment. So, it's out there.

Tonight I changes one ingredient to make it more in line with the Paleo / Primal lifestyle. I say that, but know that there is still a sweetener in this.  I have found that honey raises my glucose, but slower, and not as high as processed sugar.  Just keep that in mind if you are in the process of going off the sweet stuff.

That said, it was GOOOOOOD! I'm super-stoked that it worked as well as it did.

Ok, so now here's the recipe:

Sweet-n-Sour Cabbage with Hot Links 

  • 2-3 slices of bacon OR one tablespoon of bacon fat
  • one large onion sliced into half rings, or smaller if you like
  • one large (or 2 small) red cabbage, cored and sliced, the thicker white parts removed (they tend to be bitter)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • one lb. of your favorite spicy link sausage, going as pure as you can afford***
  • large pot with a lid (I use a wok, but i don't recommend it, the vinegar will strip your seasoning off of it)

prep time: 10-20 minutes
cook time: approximately 20-30 minutes

  1.  in a large wok or stock pot, cook you bacon until crisp, set aside and when cool, crumble. Use the resulting bacon fat in the pan to cook the onions until partially translucent. 
  2. mix the honey and ACV with a whisk until incorporated in a separate bowl or glass (I use the measuring cup)
  3. slowly add sliced cabbage to the pot, alternating with a splash of the honey/ACV mixture. Coat the cabbage well each time, otherwise it will turn gray and look very unappetizing.
  4. once all the honey/ACV mix and the cabbage are mixed into the pot, re-add the crumbled bacon and put a lid on to simmer.
  5. cook the cabbage down to desired tenderness, stirring it once or twice. The more you let it cook down, the more the sweet-n-sour flavor permeates the cabbage. This takes about 20-45 minutes depending on how much cabbage you are using.
  6. cut up the sausage into 1-2 inch pieces (or cut each link in half) and mix into the cooked cabbage. replace lid and cook another 15 minutes, until the sausages are cooked thoroughly. You'll know when the skins have split.
  7. plate and serve. 
Now, you might be wondering which ingredient I swapped to make this more Paleo, and it was the honey. The recipe used to call for 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Other than the addition of the sausage, there recipe is still the same as the one from my MIL's 1960's diabetic cookbook.

It struck me that 50 years ago, there wasn't the stigma of Fat = Fat. There were plenty of recipes in that book that called for bacon fat or lard.  It's only in more recent times that "health officials" tell you not to eat the fat.

That tells you something doesn't it?

***as far as the sausage goes, I really haven't really found a spicy "pure" sausage yet. YET.  I would love to find a nitrate-free / sugar-free hot sausage. This time I used Scott Peterson's Pure Beef Hot Link Sausage, and yes, there were nitrates in it.  But I'm always on the look-out, so if you find some somewhere, send me a note.

Also, if you want to make and have it be spice, this but can't/don't use spicy sausage, I've thrown in a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes to the pot and gotten great results.

UPDATE (06/09/13):  I made this again last week, and took pictures.  They aren't great photos, but it's better than nothing. I've actually had a few requests for photos, so here you go!

adding the cabbage, and coating with the liquid mixture.

Cabbage cooked down, adding the sausage.

Viola! Happiness in your mouf!


  1. No local grocer that makes sausages?
    Really wish you had a Sprouts or Sunflower up by you! They make their own there in the store.

  2. I wish you had a photo of your finished product. As far as I am concerned, having sausage of good quality will be great pick for any dish. I better give this dish a try since I can see that it’s a good dish with a good balance of veggies and meat. I hope my kids will love this and I’ll tell you if it becomes a hit in my family. :D

    -Dione Nye-