Ukrainian Fried Cabbage
- Servings: Makes about 4 cups.
While I grew up in an ethnically diverse family in an ethnically diverse town, my mother was a first generation Ukrainian and so the foods of her childhood became the foods of mine. One of my favorites was what was called "fried cabbage," although it was equally as much sauerkraut as fresh cabbage. The flavors in this slow simmered dish would be carried over to cabbage soup and also become the filling for pillow-y pirogies, which would be boiled or fried with little pieces of cooked onion and topped with sour cream.
Traditionally the cabbage was cooked using salt pork or bacon, but little flavor is lost by making it healthier using canola or olive oil. This dish goes wonderfully with pork, chicken or duck or as a companion to steamed or fried potatoes.
Makes about 4 cups as the cabbage reduces as it cooks.
- 4 tablespoons canola or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 jar or bag of sauerkraut, drained (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium green cabbage, finely shredded (about 3 cups)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Drain the sauerkraut but it's okay if a little of the pickling juice remains.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and using a paring knife, remove the thick core. Finely shred the cabbage using either a chef's knife or the shredding blade of a food processor. Your goal is to have equal amounts of sauerkraut and shredded cabbage. Hold aside.
- In a stockpot or large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, place 3 tablespoons of oil and the diced onion. Cook over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the shredded cabbage and drained sauerkraut to the onion. Add one more tablespoon of oil and several grinds of black pepper (not too much as you can always add more later). Using tongs, toss so to combine with the onion and coat with the oil.
- Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for at least one hour and up to two hours. Check every 15 minutes or so, using the tongs to toss to make sure that everything is cooking evenly and that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the cabbage seems too dry -- as if it might burn -- add a tablespoon of water and toss again, making sure the heat level is not too high.
- As the cabbage cooks it will slightly darken and the shreds of cabbage and sauerkraut will blend together.
- Taste and add more black pepper if you want a slightly spicy flavor.