Polish hałuski (hah-WOOSS-kee) is a comfort-food dish that means different things to different people. In my family, it is made with onion and cabbage slowly sautéed in lots of butter, mixed with al dente-cooked 1/2-inch-wide noodles (you can make your own łazanki noodles with this recipe).
My mother, who taught me how to make this, and most Polish cooks have a fondness for black pepper, so I use it liberally in this dish. Sometimes, I will turn out the mixture into a buttered gratin pan and bake until the top layer of noodles is crispy. Poles also call this dish kapusta z kluski while Hungarians call it káposztás tészta.
Hałuski in other families are dumplings made with a potato dough (see the link to Slovak halušky, below) that is sometimes mixed with dry curd cheese or drained cottage cheese. Others add chopped smoked kiełbasa or ham, or ground pork and sour cream. It's a versatile dish that can be a side or main course. Hałuski is a good candidate for a potluck, buffet, game day or anytime a casserole is just the ticket.
Don't confuse this Polish hałuski recipe with Slovak halušky (hah-LOOSH-kee), which are dumplings made with a grated potato dough. There are lots of variations of the Slovak version as well.
- 1 very large onion (sliced into rounds)
- 8 ounces butter
- 1 large head cabbage (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons water (if necessary)
- 8 ounces 1/2-inch egg noodles (cooked)
- Cut the round onion slices in half and then in half again so each round yields four pieces. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, sauté onion in 4 ounces of butter, stirring frequently, over low heat until very lightly caramelized. This could take 15 minutes or more.
- Add the 1-inch cabbage pieces and remaining 4 ounces butter, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoons of water, if necessary. Do not cover. Sauté slowly, stirring frequently, over low heat until cabbage is tender but not brown (cook to al dente stage if baking in the oven). This could take 30 minutes or more.
- Combine onion-cabbage mixture with 8 ounces cooked noodles, mixing well. Adjust seasonings and serve. OR, heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large gratin pan and turn the mixture into it. Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Note: If this dish is intended to be a meal with meat, the onions can be sautéed in diced bacon instead of the butter.