Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Noodles and Cabbage

A dish of cabbage and onions pan sauteed in butter with cooked egg noodles stirred in.

Noodles and Cabbage

First off, let's just clear the air by saying no... this is not a "southern" recipe, so out of the gate, I'll let you know that we are veering off the path today, to visit, in this case, Poland.

One day, not long ago, a reader mentioned this dish on the Facebook page and, being a lover of all things cabbage, I decided to make it. I had no idea of the true origins of this cabbage and noodle dish, so I did a little digging. Turns out, based on my own ancestry, it should already be in my blood and so, in truth, I guess it actually does fit here.

I found that the American noodles and cabbage dish we enjoy here today, appears to be at least partly rooted in a Polish dish called Kluski z Kapusta po Polski - kluski meaning noodle and kapusta meaning cabbage. I think it'd be safe to say that several cultures, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, have a similar dish. In Pennsylvania, where many Eastern European immigrants settled in the United States, there is a similar dish called Halushki, or Haluski Kapusta, which may also include potatoes or use a potato dumpling, more heavily caramelized onions, cabbage and browned noodles, and sometimes the addition of carrots as well as Polish sausage, depending on its origins.

As in all cooking, I did find that there are those kinds of variations to the base recipe here also, as some do include sour cream or cottage cheese, some use thick strips of homemade potato noodles, and some even substitute sauerkraut for the cabbage - all depending on what country and even region the version originated. With some variations, cooked meat is often included, typically bacon or ground beef, though ground veal, chicken, turkey and pork are also used, and mushrooms are often added, or even substituted for the meat. I've also seen it called Lazanki in that form, a dish that may have actually arrived in Poland, via Italy.

All of this to say, that even though Noodles and Cabbage may not be particularly Irish in its origin, since we, in the United States, associate pretty much any cabbage dish with our celebration of St. Patrick's Day - where for at least one day, everybody is a little Irish - I'm adding it to my round-up collection of recipes for St. Patrick's Day. It seems a good fit for our American celebration and if you like to do a whole corned beef brisket for St. Paddy's, I think this would make a great side dish.

There is not much to making an Americanized version of Noodles and Cabbage really and, in fact, you barely need a recipe at all. Since the base Polish version is very close to the way that we Southerners prepare our fried cabbage, I based mine on that adding in packaged egg noodles. What I can tell you, is that if you're already a fan of cabbage, adding noodles makes for a delicious combination and a great side dish anytime. Y'all know that despite my husband's dislike of cabbage, I love it and I sure gobbled this one up!

Here's how to make it.

Prepare noodles al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water; drain noodles and set aside. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter or bacon drippings in a large saucepan; add the onion. Since The Cajun isn't a fan of cabbage, I'm making a half recipe here.

Season the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage, another pinch of salt and the caraway seed, if using, cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the reserved cup of pasta water, and the vinegar, if using.

Cook, stirring regularly, until cabbage is tender and almost all liquid has evaporated.

Add the noodles, pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or bacon drippings; toss. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and stir until warmed through.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using, taste and adjust seasonings; serve immediately.

Recipe: Noodles and Cabbage

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 cups of dry medium egg noodles (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup of butter or bacon drippings, divided
  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, or to taste, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seed, optional
  • 4 cups of shredded cabbage
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Prepare noodles al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water; drain noodles and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion, season with a pinch of salt; cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and another pinch of salt and the caraway seed, if using, cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Add the reserved cup of pasta water and the vinegar if using; cook until cabbage is tender and almost all liquid has evaporated. Add the noodles, pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or bacon drippings; toss. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using, taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and stir until warmed through. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Okay to substitute cooked, frozen egg noodles (like Reames brand). For a more hearty dish, add in 1/2 to 1 pound of diced and sauteed andouille or other Kielbasa or smoked sausage, chopped smoked ham, browned ground beef, ground veal, chicken, turkey or pork, cooked and chopped corned beef, or chopped mushrooms.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Posted by on March 13, 2013
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  1. Noodles and cabbage are a match made in heaven! I like it as a base for some good sausages.

    1. It's not such a common dish down this way but it will be now! It's a great combo.

  2. This is one of my favorites! I make mine with some farmers cheese, and lots of garlic. I could eat a pot of this by myself!

  3. I know I have eaten this somewhere in my past, and had forgotten about it until you brought it up. I WILL be making this dish soon! Thanks.

  4. Southern or not, I'd really enjoy this with some tender beef.

  5. This was a really tasty dish. I used thin egg noodles because it was all I had and they worked just fine with this recipe. I served it with chicken sausages and cornbread. I must say, a mighty fine meal. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. You're welcome Gina - so glad you enjoyed it! Did I mention I ate that whole bowl?? :)

  6. I'm Polish/Ukrainian and this was a staple in our upstate NY home. Great recipe - one thing I do different is boil the shredded cabbage a bit in salted water to "mellow it out" before I fry it. Thanks for posting!

  7. Talk about bringing back a memory. Mrs. Jackowski jr. high home ec. teacher made this for us with kielbasa, sauerkraut instead of the cabbage topped with crumbled bacon. I remember she used Kluski egg noodles from Amish store, they're thicker than a egg noodle we know. Good hearty scrumptious meal. Glad you posted this I had forgot all about noodles and cabbage guess what's for dinner tonight, LOL

  8. I have been making this for many years - its a warm fall dish. I was taught by a very special hungarian lady (PA) and she called it haluski. I love to use a slab of bacon for flavor too! So glad that you posted this(People look at me funny where I live when I talk about cabbage noodles) Now I can look back at them wierd! cause I dont feel alone anymore! haha

    1. I sure enjoyed learning about it Tricia!! It's one of those dishes that made its way over to America via our immigrant ancestors & I do love that!

  9. Mary, Wow! This is a throw-back to my childhood in NYC. It was a go-to dish when times were tough, or as you folks down here would say, “Times ‘a slim pickin’s.” Its origins are actually Hungarian; they’re big on noodles: But it was extremely popular all throughout Eastern Europe. The Eastern European Jews would use ‘schmaltz’ in place of butter or bacon fat. That stuff is nasty. Us ‘shanty Irish’ always had to work a potato or two into the pot, it’s tradition.
    Thanks for the recipe and the memories. God bless.

    1. It was a new one to me, mentioned by a reader, but I have found that apparently this dish was known everywhere in some form! Everytime I share it on FB it gets claimed by a multitude of cultures! I hadn't had it, but I sure liked it.

  10. Mary, Thank you for this wonderful recipe. This is how my grandmother taught me how to make it; except for a wee bit of sugar. Yeah, I know… I’m a Yankee from NYC, what can I tell ya’.
    But mostly thank you for inspiring me to go back to my roots; cast iron cookware. Because of where I came from, I always equated cast iron and aluminum with our poverty. So when I came of my own I got rid of everything, including the little 6” aluminum pan in which I cooked my first egg in 1955. I went out and bought a complete set of Chaudier cookware, which was touted as the finest cookware out there. If nothing else, it was surely the most expensive. For Christmas, I treated myself to a Lodge 7.8 qt. enameled cast iron Dutch oven. My wife complained about the weight until she started using it. It’s now her ‘go-to’ pot. I’m priming her for Lodge 10” and 12” skillets and a grill pan.
    Thanks again. God bless.

    1. I think cast iron was perceived that way for a long time, but it seems to be making a comeback! Gosh I hate that you got rid of yours.

    2. Mary, Sorry but, this post was actually supposed to be posted under your article on “Southern Skillet Cornbread,” not “Noodles and Cabbage.” It probably didn’t make much sense here, but would make sense under the cornbread recipe.
      This is rather embarrassing considering I’d spent 30 yrs. in electronic and computer engineering. This is not the first time that my 10 yr. old ‘Dell from hell’ has taken me for a ride and gone off on a tangent. I usually catch it before it goes off. I guess I’m getting slow in my old age. I think it’s high-time that I repurposed the old mainframe into something more useful…. like a target.
      God bless.

    3. Oh LOL, you're right, it would, but hey, no worries at all :) though I do think you've earned a new Dell!


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