Kapuśniak – Cabbage Soup Posted by Anna on Oct 24, 2009 in Culture
There are many definitions and examples of comfort food – I’m pretty sure that every culture has its very own typical dishes that fall into this category. And one thing is certain, when you’re sick you crave that yummy, comforting goodness. And I am and I do. But what do I crave? Kapuśniak (cabbage soup).
Now, maybe not exactly your typical Polish comfort food (but what would be? Schabowy and potatoes plus surówka?) but kapuśniak is what I want to eat whenever I am sick.
The only problem is that I can’t make a really good cabbage soup if my life depended on it. Why? First there’s this issue of whether to use fresh cabbage (świeża) or sauerkraut (kiszona). I like my kapuśniak sour, but not too sour. So what are the correct fresh/sour proportions? And second, what about the soup base? Mine never tastes like it should. It always has that “nouvelle” air to it instead of an honest, hearty and satisfying down to earth kapuśniak flavor.
My dad makes the best kapuśniak on the planet and I love it, even though he likes his with fresh cabbage. However, I have never mastered this kapuśniak making skill and hence I am stuck with improvising whenever I feel like eating a bowl of cabbagey goodness.
And to be completely honest, I’ve had no idea that cabbage soup is (was?) one of those newfangled weight loss fads. Really? We, Poles have been eating it for at least a thousand years, so it’s nice to see the rest of the world catching up.
OK, but back to the original question. How to make my kapuśniak taste right the Polish way? Because right now, I make it somewhat like this:
- shred a bunch of cabbage
- open a jar of sauerkraut
- cut up some veggies
- get a couple of those bullion cube thingies or a can of ready-made consommé (I’m not the patient type to boil some bones for soup stock)
- some bacon and a couple of bratwursts
- random seasonings and spices (read: whatever’s available)
It’s still good and quite tasty, but nothing like my dad used to make.
So, how do you make your kapuśniak?
PS. And by the way, how does this old saying go? Po kapuście d..pa chluszcze. (something like: after eating cabbage soup, stuff spouts from your behind, except that it vaguely rhymes in Polish), so be careful. And the d-word is considered vulgar, so there.
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