Humble Fare:: Kapusta

>> Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Another Polish recipe today! Kapusta is a favourite in our house. We consider it comfort food - great when it's really cold outside. It's simple and inexpensive to make and feeds a crowd. Traditionally, kapusta is made with meaty pork ribs (bone in), but I make it from the meaty carcass left over from roast chicken dinner. It's important to boil the bones for the flavour. Meat alone just doesn't give the same taste. It also calls for a tin of yellow pea soup. I have made it with green pea soup, and green pea with bacon. Both of those options change the flavour considerably, so try to get the yellow this time around. Once you've tasted it, you may choose to experiment with the others.

This soup is best served over mashed potatoes, or a cauliflower puree (rather stiff). I suppose you could serve it over rice or egg noodles (or real kluski noodles). I always offer pumpernickel bread with this dish.


1 chicken carcass (with meat still on the bones)
1 green cabbage, shredded
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 tin sauerkraut
1 tin yellow pea soup (Habitant makes a great French Canadian pea soup)
salt and peppercorns to taste
1 tsp fennel seed, if desired

Place the chicken carcass in a large soup pot and cover with water, add a generous amount of salt and about 10 peppercorns. Cover tightly and bring to the boil; simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove carcass and set aside to cool slightly. Add cabbage, onions, kraut and pea soup to the pot. Cover and let simmer until the cabbage is softened, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, strip te meat from the chicken bones and add back into the pot. **Fennel seed will help with the digestion of the cabbage and imparts a lovely, earthy, licorice flavour.

Kapusta will not be brothy, but somewhat dense with cabbage. Serves a big crowd and freezes beautifully.


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