This Cabbage Soup Recipe is nothing fancy, but the flavor transports me back to my childhood.
When I was a kid, my grandmother Ruth often made this Cabbage Soup. She called it “kapusta” which means cabbage in Polish, but in reality, this is very similar to “kapusniak” or cabbage soup.
My last name is French-Canadian, but being my mom’s side of the family is Polish and Ukrainian, we ate a lot of that food growing up. Pierogi, golumbki, and kapusniak were regular favorites from my grandma’s kitchen.
Whenever I eat this, I’m transported back to my grandma’s house on Bemis Ave where I’d watch her slowly and methodically cut the cabbage so thinly by hand. Once it was done simmering, I’d help myself to a few steaming-hot bowls. It’s definitely comfort food to me.
I’m sure there are a billion variations, and I make no claim this is 100% authentic. It’s the way she made it, and it’s the recipe I’d love to share with you.
This recipe is humble, nothing flashy, but sometimes those are the best kinds. Though it’s called a soup, you won’t end up with a ton of broth and just a few pieces of cabbage in it. In all reality, it’ll be cabbage with a bit of flavorful broth.
If you can’t find salt pork, you could substitute pancetta or bacon though I would halve the amounts. It’s there to give flavor, not as a protein component. I like to slice the salt pork into strips so I can get a little color on it.
When you’re looking for sauerkraut, check in the refrigerated section. I get the type that’s found in plastic pouches for this recipe instead of shelling out big bucks for the raw artisan kraut that you’d eat for probiotics. You’ll be bringing the soup to a boil, then lowering to a simmer which is enough to render most of those beneficial probiotics in the expensive stuff a moot point.
Be sure to rinse your sauerkraut in a colander to get rid of any excess salt, and rinse the salt pork as well. I highly recommend a no-salt chicken broth (homemade is even better) then adjusting the seasonings at the end.
- 8 oz salt pork, rinsed and patted dry, then sliced into wide strips about ¼" thick
- 1 large head green cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced
- 2 lb sauerkraut, rinsed
- 4 cups low- or no-salt chicken broth
- Black pepper and sea salt to taste
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the salt pork strips to the pot and fry on each side until the meat begins to brown, a 4-5 minutes. Then flip and repeat for another 4-5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, sauerkraut, and chicken broth.
- Stir until the ingredients are well-combined.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. You can fish out the salt pork and chop it up, putting it back into the soup, or if you're not into that, you can discard it.
- Adjust the seasonings to your liking and serve hot.
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