Cabbage has an undeserved reputation for creating unpleasant odors when it's cooked. Overcooking and the use of aluminum pans are the culprits. When cooked correctly, this vegetable -- high in fiber and vitamin C -- pairs naturally with sausage. Variations on this economical, easy-to-fix combination create tasty dinners, potluck meals and picnic dishes.
Fresh cabbage requires coring, slicing or chopping, but bagged coleslaw mix works as well as fresh cabbage in many recipes. Sauerkraut, or pickled cabbage, is available in the lunch meat section at most supermarkets, and jarred cabbage is in the pickle section. If you decide to use fresh cabbage in your menu, set it, core end down, on a chopping board and slice it in half. Remove the core and cut the cabbage into the shapes or sizes your recipe calls for. A food processor cuts down on prep time considerably. Red and purple cabbages add a splash of color to a dish. A medium-sized head yields about nine cups of shredded cabbage or seven cups when cooked.
The wide variety of chopped meats known as sausage includes products made from ground beef, pork, poultry and game that are stuffed into casings or left in bulk to be formed into patties. Some are smoked, some are air-dried and others are left fresh. While almost all of them pair well with cabbage, semi-dry sausages, such as pepperoni and salami, aren't typically served with cabbage. If you're concerned that the rendered fat from sausage links might ruin your dish, steam the sausage in a little water until it's cooked, then add it to the cabbage. Prick the casing to let the grease escape as it cooks.
Hot dogs and sauerkraut may be the easiest cabbage and sausage combination, and it's certainly among the most popular. Simmer the dogs in the kraut until they're both heated through. Remember to cook the sausage thoroughly if you opt to use bratwurst instead of hot dogs, which come fully cooked. Try a variation on a ragout or soup if you have a little bit of time. Saute onions and garlic, add shredded cabbage and low-sodium stock, potatoes and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender and add sliced, cooked kielbasa or Polish sausage. Add cabbage and sausage to a white bean soup.
Boiled potatoes complement cabbage and sausage dishes. Applesauce, black bread, pickled beets and German potato salad round out the list of traditional sides. Or grill bell peppers of all colors and add them as a side or as a topping on a sandwich. Create a cool counterpoint with a sliced cucumber and radish salad with a light ranch dressing.
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