Split peas and cabbage, or kapusta z grochem (kah-POOSS-tah zih GRROH-hem) in Polish, is a traditional side dish at wigilia, the Christmas Eve dinner also known as the Star Supper.
Fresh shredded cabbage, sauerkraut and a purée of cooked yellow split peas are combined to make this thick, slightly tangy dish.
While wigilia is a meatless meal, this dish, which is as much a starch as a vegetable, also can be served with a garnish of pork cracklings known as skwarki or fried bacon if you're not fasting.
- 1 pound dried yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 small head cabbage (about 2 pounds), shredded
- 1-quart sauerkraut, undrained or drained, if desired, reserving some of the kraut juice
- 3 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped (if not fasting)
- Combine peas and boiling water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue boiling 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let soak 30 minutes.
- Bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes, or until cooked down into a purée, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, place shredded cabbage, sauerkraut, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 1 hour.
- While cabbage is cooking, sauté onion in butter until golden brown but not burned. Set aside.
- Add cooked peas to cabbage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add some kraut juice or vegetable broth if too dry.
- Add sautéed onions and mix well. Heat until warm throughout and serve.
Note: Optionally, sauté onion with chopped bacon, omitting the butter, until bacon is cooked through, but not crispy. Add to cabbage with cooked peas.
More Polish Cabbage Dishes
Braised Red Cabbage Recipe: This is an easy dish to make especially if you have a food processor. It has the sweet-sour taste Poles love.
Cabbage-Bacon-Potato Casserole Recipe: Here's another hearty comfort-food dish that cooks in the oven and sports a cheesy, bubbly topping.
Unstuffed Cabbage Recipe: This take on Polish goląbki takes the drudgery out of stuffing and rolling individual cabbage leaves. Instead, chopped cabbage, meat, and tomatoes get cozy in a casserole that is baked.