Make sweet and sour cabbage by shredding 3 pounds of red cabbage and 1 onion. Cook in butter for five minutes. Separately, mix 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 tablespoons each red-wine vinegar and brown sugar. Add mixture to cabbage, and simmer for 15 minutes.
For a more complex Polish sweet and sour cabbage dish, shred two 3-pound heads of red cabbage and 1 onion, and cook in a large pot with 2 tablespoons of butter under low heat. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup of melted butter with 1/2 cup of brown sugar along with 1/3 cup each of balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons of caraway seeds and 1 teaspoon each of salt, allspice and celery seeds. Wrap 5 whole cloves in cheesecloth and add to the bowl with 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1 cup of raisins. Mix well and add to the pot with the cabbage mixture. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes, using additional vinegar as needed to prevent the cabbage from scorching. Once tender, taste and add additional salt, pepper or sugar as desired.
Sweet and sour cabbage is traditionally served with sausage or pork, and keeps well over several days, with the flavor increasing in complexity over time.