Red Cabbage with Apples

As long as I can remember, red cabbage has been THE major side dish for special occasions in my family, be it family birthday or anniversary meals, Easter or Christmas. It came along with anything from Sunday roast, chicken, duck, goose, rabbit or venison.
To me, the red cabbage was always more important than the meat part of the meal. I love its sweet a fruity flavor spiced with cloves and pimento. 

Now 25-30 years later, I am preparing it for my own family for big occasions, like the upcoming Christmas lunch. It's easier said than done, as red cabbage can be very bland if not spiced up properly.  This recipe gets the flavor spot-on, and I am glad I got my little international family to like my very German side dish preferences for big meals too.

(Print Recipe)

2 tablespoons of lard (alternatively butter)
1 big onion, finely chopped

1kg red cabbage
2 green sour apples (Granny Smith always works fine)
1 bay leaf
4 pimento (that is whole allspice)
6-8 cloves
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
2 heaped tablespoons cranberry jelly
1 cup of water (or more)

Serves 8-10
Remove outer leaves and thick stems from the red cabbage. Shred the cabbage or cut finely. Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel and core the apples, cut into small cubes.

In a heavy-bottomed pot heat the lard or butter, add the onions and fry until golden over medium heat. Add the shredded red cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add cubed apples, bay leaf, cloves, salt, sugar, vinegar, cranberry jelly and water and cook over low to medium heat for about 45min to 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add little water if necessary. Season with salt, sugar and vinegar. Better the next day. Freezes well.