While perusing the farmer’s market in Pawtucket, RI, I decided to stop at the PV Farmstand to see what Frank Martinelli, the self-proclaimed “King of Boar,” had to offer. I ended up purchasing some knockwurst sausage and immediately knew I wanted to try using them to make something other than a simple sausage sandwich.
If you’re wondering what knockwurst or knackwurst is, you can imagine it like the American hot dog’s bigger, wiser, and better looking older cousin. It’s meatier, smokier, and usually much better in quality than an American hot dog, but they do share some flavorful notes. Basically, if you love hot dogs, you’ll most likely love knockwurst. Another fun fact I learned is that knockwurst is usually prepared steamed as opposed to grilled like bratwurst, which is why it works so well in this recipe. The flavors in this dish are German inspired and they reminded me of eating in some of my favorite German restaurants. The apple cider vinegar in the braised cabbage pays a humble homage to sauerkraut, but stands on its own while the smokiness of the sausage adds a depth to the cabbage that completes the dish.
Makes 2 large servings at about 756 calories each
- 1 pound of knockwurst (knackwurst) or 4 to 5 links (~1000 calories)
- 1 medium head of cabbage shredded (250 calories)
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced (20 calories)
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed (10 calories)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
- 1 tablespoon butter (100 calories)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (12 calories)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (add more to taste if needed)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Optional: Dijon or coarse grain mustard
- Large deep non-stick saute pan with a lid
- Sharp knife
- Cup, tablespoon, and teaspoon measurements
- Cooking spatula and/or rubber tipped tongs
- Remove the outer layer of leaves from the cabbage. Then slice the head of cabbage in half. Remove the core or butt of the cabbage from each side before slicing each half again, so you have quarters. Roughly chop each quarter into 1/4-inch thick strips and set aside.
- Peel, core, and cut a medium onion in half before cutting each half into very thin slices. Set the onion aside with the cabbage.
- Set the pan on the stove, set the heat to medium, and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan.
- Once the oil is warm, but not too hot, put the cabbage and onions into the pan. Stir everything so that the olive oil coats the vegetables.
- Start to cook down the cabbage by letting it sit for a few minutes before stirring the contents of the pan. Continue doing this for about 15 minutes or until the cabbage is softer, but not browning.
- Crush two cloves of garlic or finely dice them and add them to the pan with the cabbage. Mix everything together.
- Pour 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into the cabbage and bring the liquid in the pan up to a simmer. Add the tablespoon of butter to the cabbage, melt it, and mix everything before setting the heat down to low.
- Cover the cabbage and let it steam on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure nothing is burning or caramelizing too much.
- After 30 minutes, place the knockwurst on top of the cabbage so they aren’t touching.
- Cover and steam the knockwurst for 15 to 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, just check to make sure the cabbage and onions aren’t over-caramelizing on the bottom.
- Once the knockwurst are steamed, they’re ready to eat! Make a bed of cabbage in a plate or wide shallow bowl and place the sausage over it to serve.
- Enjoy the knockwurst with some Dijon or coarse grain mustard. I like to mix a bit of Dijon mustard into the cabbage on the plate, which really just rounds out the flavor and makes every bite of cabbage with knockwurst complete.
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