Russian Braised Cabbage

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Russian Braised cabbage (tushyonaya kapusta) is a deliciously Russian dish, made by slowly cooking finely shredded cabbage with carrots and onions. During the Soviet days of limited food supplies, braised cabbage was one of the most popular and hearty dishes. It was indeed the Soviet version of comfort food. But what’s so special about cabbage anyway?

Cabbage has been cultivated for thousands of years. Ancient Romans loved it for its nutritional value as much as a remedy for hangovers, and even healing wounds. That’s right, cabbage soaked in vinegar was consumed before embarking on a evening of heavy drinking as early as 8th century BC. Caesar’s armies are known to have carried cabbage leaves to treat wounds and reduce infection and inflammation. Indeed, modern studies have confirmed that cabbage has antibacterial properties.

The first records of cabbage grown by the Slavs date back to the 9th century. It is believed that Greek and Roman colonists brought cabbages from the Black Sea region into Russia. Since cabbage grows well in cool climates, yields large harvests, and stores well during winter, it soon became a major crop in Europe. But back then, cabbage looked more like loose-leaf kale (to which it is related than the full-bodied form we know today.

A popular food among the rural folk and farmers, cabbage was used in stews and soups, as well as pickling. During the Soviet days of limited food supplies, braised cabbage (tushyonaya kapusta) was one of the most popular and hearty dishes. It was the Soviet version of comfort food. Braised cabbage is incredibly easy to make and can be used either as a side dish, as a filling for pirogies or dumplings (vareniki), or just on its own as a main dish.

As the cold weather rages in most of the eastern United States and Europe, try this simple and delicious comfort food as a way to warm your heart and tickle your taste buds. It is incredibly easy to make and can be used either as a side dish, as a filling for pirogies or dumplings (vareniki), or just on its own as a main dish.

Ingredients:

Makes about 3-4 servings

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 medium onion (or one shallot)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 green bell pepper finely cut
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • OPTIONAL: diced ham or hot dogs

Instructions:

  • Wash and finely chop or shred half a head of white cabbage. Shred cleaned and peeled carrots, and finely chop half an onion.
  • In a deep skillet pre-heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent; add shredded carrots and saute for several minutes.
  • Add cabbage, lemon juice and peppers and allow to cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For a spicy kick you can also add half a teaspoon of Tabasco or Sriracha sauce.

Serve warm and enjoy with a side of roasted chicken or on its own. Makes about 2 servings.
Prep Time: 10-15min | Cook Time: 35-40 min

2017-07-31T12:33:01+00:00 January 18th, 2015|

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