Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kapusta (Polish Roasted Cabbage)

Not to be mistaken for Bigos or Hunter's Stew, Poland's national dish, kapusta is a simple roasted cabbage side that's typically served at Polish celebrations. And since we're heading into the season of get togethers and festive meals, it was time to make a batch.

The dish combines ready-made sauerkraut with fresh cabbage and is flavoured with onions only in my vegan version, but bits of fatty pork fried crisp (or bacon as a substitute) or diced kielbasa (Polish sausage) are common additions. The sourness of the sauerkraut is tempered by the sweetness of the fresh cabbage but once they're baked together, they're indistinguishable from each other. The kapusta tastes better the day after it's made and freezes very well so I usually make it well in advance of when I need it. It's one of those dishes where every family has their own recipe - this one is mine.

serves a crowd! (16-20)

prep time: 30 minutes
baking time: 60-90 minutes

2 large yellow onions (approx 400-450g), halved and thinly sliced
60ml olive oil 
1 medium head green cabbage (approx 2kg)
1L jar sauerkraut (in white wine is my preference)
black pepper
reserved brine from sauerkraut

Preheat oven to 170C/325F.
cooked onions
shredded fresh cabbage
In a large skillet, slowly cook the onions in the olive oil over medium-low heat for 17-20 minutes or until they are very soft, translucent but not yet caramelized.
In the meantime, remove the core and shred the head of cabbage by hand or in a food processor using the coarse shredding disc.
drained sauerkraut
Drain the sauerkraut, reserving the brining liquid. Rinse with cold water and press the excess liquid out of the sauerkraut.
ready for the oven
Combine the fresh cabbage, sauerkraut and cooked onions and their oil in a large roasting pan with a tight fitting lid. Stir in 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Bake, covered, in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Stir. The fresh cabbage will start to take on the colour of the sauerkraut and it will shrink in volume. Continue to bake, covered, for an additional 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
After 1 hour of baking, the colour and texture of all of the ingredients will be approximately the same. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, and if it's not sour enough, a few spoons of the reserved brine. Return to the oven to bake an additional 10 minutes or so if you've added some of the brine or if the kapusta is not quite cooked; it should be moist but not wet and the fresh cabbage should be the same tender-crisp texture as the sauerkraut. Repeat if necessary.

Serve immediately or cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze for later use. To reheat, place the (defrosted) kapusta in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until it's heated through and any excess liquid has cooked away.
Served with Patyczki (Polish breaded meat kebabs) as part of a celebratory meal.


  1. wish I could put this on Pintrest

  2. My mouth is watering I would serve any time not just for a holidaying


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