Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kapusta - Cooked Cabbage

A Trip to Poland

When Joan of Foodalogue posted her event that is themed as a virtual culinary trip to a number of countries, my interest was peaked. Joan also planned this event to raise awareness to world hunger and Bloggeraid Although as Joan tells us, economic times stand in the way of us taking the actual journey, nothing stops us from enjoying the culinary adventure right from our own kitchens. Here are the tentative dates and stops along the way.

1/19 Poland
1/26 Germany
2/2 France
2/9 Portugal
2/16 Israel
2/23 Ethiopia
3/2 Russia
3/9 India
3/16 Mongolia
3/23 Australia
3/30 Peru
4/6 USA

Poland was screaming at me. My heritage is from Poland and as I sat in my kitchen I could actually visualize what to cook. My mother (baba) often told me stories of pre war Poland and how hard it was to make a living, let alone feed large families.

Kapusta (the Polish word for cabbage), one of the dishes baba makes to this day is a peasant dish that feeds a large family. Meats were so expensive that if my grandmother could find a couple of pieces of chicken to throw into the pot, it made a creative and filling dish. It's also quite delicious meatless.

When we were young, if baba was cooking Kapusta, we all gave her the old stink eye and had to run outside because the mere smell of the cabbage cooking was enough.

This recipe doesn't exactly win a beauty contest but is packed with personality. At first, running the idea of cabbage, chicken, raisins or currants, onions and brown sugar around in my mind would elicit a big "eeeuuuuwwww". Now that I'm almost grown up, I can honestly say the combination grows on you and can become quite addictive.

Here is my tribute to Poland, its culture and its people.


3 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
1 medium onion diced
1 medium sized green cabbage - shredded
1 tsp kosher salt
2 or 3 chicken drumsticks or bone in thigh portions
1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins


1. In large pot, saute diced onion in oil until translucent.
2. Add shredded cabbage,salt and chicken pieces and cook covered on moderate/slow heat until cabbage begins to brown. This is the longest part of the process. Make sure you're stirring from time to time. If the pot begins to go dry, add water by little bits to maintain moisture.

3. Add raisins and brown sugar and continue to cook on low heat.

4. Just before the cabbage is looking done, add juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This is usually about 20 minutes before serving.
5. Serve with a boiled potato.



MrOrph said...

Now that's a very interesting combination.

I love cabbage and this sounds like a great way to prepare it.

FOODalogue said...

Great job, Giz, and I love that you had an authentic and personal story to tell. I'll be arriving in Poland over the weekend.

Ben said...

It might not be the best looking dish, but it has a lot of personality and says so much about its country of origin. Great entry! Are we going to see baba again around here? We love baba :D

kat said...

I can totally see that being a great dish whether its beautiful or not

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This sounds like such a delicious dish with wonderful memories attached to it as well Giz:D

Bunny said...

I love the cabbage Giz and the story that went with it.

What's Cookin Chicago said...

thank you for sharing your memories and this dish looks delicious!

Dewi said...

This is indeed very humble and comforting dish. List of culinary trip sound tempting. I might join in one of those country, if I may...

Anonymous said...

I just had cabbage! It was only 50 cents a pound :)

Unknown said...

I just stumbled upon this event today as I was catching up on my favorite blogs, and I love the idea -- will likely be joining you at one of the destinations -- now I am wishing I had taken a picture of the poulet au vinaigre I made on Sunday - I could be joining in France!

OhioMom said...

I love cabbage, I usually do a fried version ... this dish looks yummy to me :)

Ivy said...

Giz you are hilarious. I laughed with your description about kapusta and I'm still laughing. It seems that you Polish eat a lot of kapusta because most recipes I found were saurkraut and everything had cabbage in it More kapusta will feature in my blog as well. The dish sounds delicious.

That Girl said...

This is far better looking than the last cabbage dish I made! I made a beef and cabbage dish and even with 1/2 a stick of butter interspersed between the layers the cabbage still managed to burn to the bottom of the pan - uuuugggghhh.

Emily said...

I feel like I'm in Poland! The cabbage sounds delicious.

grace said...

i just saw val's post about poland--ya'll are doing a great job of introducing us to other cuisines! i was completely oblivious to poland's enticements.

shambo said...

I love cabbage too. Your dish looks warm and comforting. Just perfect for a cold winter's evening meal.

Anonymous said...

Being Polish and speaking the language..I grew up on Kapusta, however its been a while since I've had it! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Anonymous said...

I only just came across your blog and will certainly try this dish. I love the story behind it.

Cakelaw said...

This looks good - reminds me a little of the sauerkrat we had at the Hofbrauhaus last week.

Unknown said...

Great dish, we have a Polish neighbour near to us here in Spain, there are some fabulous recipes from Poland.

NĂºria said...

What an amazing mixture of ingredients!!!! Sugar, lemon, cabbage...???? This sounds so funny to my palate! I love hearing about foreign recipes and would love to share your table and try your Polish dish :D

Anonymous said...

Interesting event idea. Might check it out sometime.
I can definitely come to love a dish like this.

Anonymous said...

Great kapusta recipe - makes me nostalgic for the kapusta my baba used to make (it's a little different, the ukranian version).

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