This German cabbage and sausage stew is a savory feast in a bowl and comes together relatively fast. It is so satisfying that you can easily add it to your homemade meals rotation.
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Read on for useful tips and step-by-step pictures (2-3 mins)
Cabbage with Sausage German Style
A cozy, warm pot of cabbage stewed with good smoked beef sausage is a traditional dish in Germany. It is light and hearty at the same time and simply delicious on a cold night. By controlling the liquid quantity you can prepare it as a thicker stew or a cabbage soup. The unmistakably German element is adding a bit of flavorful lager and reducing it to create a malty element with sweet notes.
Notes on What You Will Need
Smoked sausage. German knackwurst is a traditional option for cabbage stew, but any good beef smoked sausage or pork and beef mixed sausage such as kielbasa will work well in this recipe.
Cabbage and seasonings. Use white or green cabbage and be sure to remove the core and outer leaves. Besides salt and pepper the recipe calls for ground caraway seeds. They work so beautifully with cabbage that the soup will not taste the same without them.
Veggies and potatoes. Onion (yellow or white), carrot and garlic all contribute their aromatic qualities to the broth. Use a waxier potato variety such as Yukon gold because it is more suitable for prolonged simmering.
Beer. Go with a German lager. If in season, use an amber lager such as Marzen (or a Vienna lager) or bock. They have lovely malty sweetness and caramel notes to infuse into the stew. Alternatively you can use a light lager like helles or a Czech style pilsner – both lean on the sweet side.
Stock or base. Either use stock (chicken or vegetable) as the liquid for the stew or add chicken/vegetable base and hot water.
Other. Vegetable or olive oil to brown the sausage in and saute the veggies. Apple cider vinegar and fresh parsley as finishing touches before serving.
Step-by-Step Cabbage Stew
Prep. Slice the sausage on a slight diagonal – this will give each bite sized piece a bit more surface area to brown (= more flavor). Dice the onion and the potatoes and slice the carrot in thin half circles. For the cabbage – halve the head first, remove the core and slice it thinly.
Pre-cook. Brown the sausage, then cook it with the onions and carrot until they soften. Add the cabbage, seasonings and garlic and saute until the cabbage softens and takes on the flavors of the sausage. Add the beer, cook for a while to reduce it and add the potatoes and the stock.
Stew. Stir and bring to boil, then immediately lower the heat and cover with a lid, leaving just a sliver of an opening. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Flavor. To finish flavor the cabbage stew by stirring in the apple cider vinegar and chopped parsley.
How to Serve Cabbage and Sausage Stew
- Serve with a side of sour cream. A dollop or two stirred into the stew uplift its overall taste.
- Red pepper flakes or freshly cracked pepper are both excellent for adding some heat to the soup.
- Rye bread or beer bread rolls make wonderful companions to this dish. (We like to drop little pieces of bread in our infividual bowls and scoop them out with a spoon as soon as they become saturated with the delicious liquid.
Variation – Cabbage Soup with Sausage
- If you’d like a cabbage soup version of this stew all you need to do is add a bit more flavorful liquid than the recipe calls for. Simply increase the amount of stock you add from the get go. About one and a half to two cups of additional stock should be sufficient.
- If you’d like a richer, creamier broth instead of clear, the fix is really simple. Towards the very end of the cooking time add about a third cup of heavy whipping cream and stir it in. Simmer for another couple of minutes.
- Alternatively, you can add a ladleful of the clear broth to a third of a cup of sour cream, carefully mix the two and then return the mixture to the pot and stir it in.
You Might Enjoy
- 14 oz smoked beef sausage (about 4 links)*
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (vegetable of olive)
- 1 onion, medium
- 1 small cabbage head
- 1 carrot (two if small)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground caraway seed (or a bit more, to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup German lager**
- 2 gold potatoes, medium (3-4 small)
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock***
- 1 tbsp sherry or apple cider vinegar
- fresh parsley, to taste, finely chopped
- Cut the sausage into slighlty diagonal bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion and potatoes, thinly slice the carrot and mince the garlic. Core the cabbage and slice it thinly.
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat add the cooking oil and brown the sausage for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and carrots, stir and saute until softened another 5 minutes or so. Add the cabbage, stir well and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, caraway seeds and garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant. Pour the beer into the pot, stir and allow about 3 minutes for it to reduce a little.
- Add the potatoes and stock (or base dissolved in hot water). Stir, bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid, leaving a sliver of an opening. Simmer for 40 minutes, until the potatatoes are tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve with sour cream on the side and fresh bread (rye tastes great with this dish).
*Several types of sausage will work well in this recipe. Look for German knackwurst or 100% beef smoked sausage or pork and beef kielbasa.
** Such as bock, Marzen, helles or Vienna lager or Czech pilsner. They are all slightly sweet.
***You can use 1 heaping tablespoon of chicken or vegetable base and 3 cups of hot water. Make sure that it is well dissolved in the water.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 531Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1121mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 29g